Many people assume that they lack motivation when what they really lack is clarity. If you can change your habits, you can change your life. For many of the habits and behaviors that we want to perform, they’re going to take longer than two minutes.
Everyone wants to improve radically, to gain rapid success but we often fail to realize that small habits and little choices are transforming us every day already. These times when you make a choice multiply over time and habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. If you can learn to master those then you can make time work for you.
Good habits make time your ally, bad habits make time your enemy. Today we’re going to look at how to build the habits that you need to get the results that you want.
There are four stages of habit formation:
Noticing, wanting, doing, and liking.
You cannot perform a habit or take an action if you do not notice something. You want to start drinking coffee but, say, you don’t even know it exists. You need to acknowledge it. But then you need to want to drink coffee and pick it up. Then there’s doing, you actually do the habit, and then you need to enjoy drinking the coffee to repeat it again.
People seem to think that they need to get more motivated than they need willpower in order to execute a habit. They say, “If I felt like doing something, then I would do it”, but in fact, they don’t even have a plan for it. So instead of waking up each day thinking “I wonder if I’ll feel motivated to write today wonder if I’ll feel motivated to workout today” you can take the decision-making out by explicitly stating when, where, and how you want to implement the habit. Give your goals a time and a place to live in the world.
Stage One of the most overlooked drivers of habits and human behavior is our physical environment and your environment often influences them. We want things simply because they’re an option, because they are in front of us at the time. If you walk into any living room all the couches and chairs almost always face the TVs. We wonder why we sit and watch too much TV and it’s because our desires are shaped in that way. So thankfully you can be the architect of your environment. You can decide to design something to make your good behaviors easier in your bad behaviors harder. So, for example, if you want to practice your guitar more frequently put it right in the middle of your living room so you run across it all the time.
At the beginning of stage 3 the most important thing is just to shut up and just make sure that you hone the skills right. Often when we think about habits, goals, routines, achievements, it’s all about the milestone. We think about how much weight we want to lose, how much money we want to earn, it’s all fixed on the milestones. Instead, if you can optimize for the starting line and make it as easy as possible to get started, the outcomes just come as a natural result – your identity emerges out of the habits that you have.
It’s important to know that it’s not just about getting you to make small changes, it’s actually getting you to learn something new about yourself, something possible about yourself and habits are not only the method through which we achieve external measures of success, they are also the path through which we achieve internal change and actually become someone new.