...and habits that last

Making a change can be overwhelming and daunting. The fear of 'failure' (whatever that may be) can delay if not prevent us from even trying to make the change in teh first place. Often taking the first step in the new direction can feel the hardest; be it starting a new hobby, changing what we do or even how we do it. When tend to start something new, we are often full of enthusiasm, excitement and determination.

How long goes this last?

Speaking from experience, it's easy to get demotivated when perhaps you don't see the results as quickly as you'd like.

Creating lasting habits

Quick question - how long have you been able to maintain your New Year's resolutions?

  • Learning a new language
  • Exercising every day
  • Starting a new diet
  • Daily journaling

...are just a few examples of all the well intentioned changes we want to make but have never quite managed to do.

Stop here if you are looking for a quick fix.

Setting Goals

Sometimes we create a goal to achieve to help keep the mind focused and motivation levels high - like getting ready for our wedding, completing a sporting event are just two examples. I certainly remember training for various events with lots of enthusiasm and then failing to put the running shoes back on for a few months. (Granted - sometimes it's good to take a break to rest and recover- but it can be easy to leave the shoes by the door that little bit longer).

Increasingly in the today's society we are encouraged to set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Timely).

As with the examples above, (the wedding and completing an event) - what next? Does the completing the event give you a long lasting sense of achievement or do you need the next thing? Doesn't it begin to feel like a treadmill - moving from one event to another or even one promotion to another in the context of work?

When is enough enough or to the goal posts keep moving. If they keep moving - then at what point can we reach the point of satisfaction?

Perhaps there is a different way?

Now don't get me wrong - we love a challenge but recently the process has become more important than the goal.

For example

  • As a family we are learning French online with an App - we are more interested about our daily progress / streak than passing an exam (though I'd like to think it will help Max as he heads towards his GCSE's in a few years)
  • Doing events is more about the community and sharing the experience such as completing Obstacle Course Races with the people we have trained with
  • Entering SwimRun's as a way to visit somewhere new and explore as a family

Our mindset has certainly changes in recent years . It's not about the goal but what we believe our identity is- outdoor, healthy and adventurous rather than a triathlete (just an example).

I've also found it helpful in that the identity has moved from an sporting endeavour to a lifestyle one that includes being more mindful about my diet.

At My Life Tonic we offer a wide range of ways for people to find what works for them- be it make small changes to their routine that makes them move towards their own identity.

Our 31 Day 10 Minute Challenges, 4 Week Tone Up Challenge, yoga, meditation,  desk yoga and breathwork through to journaling, staying hydrated or even cold water become part of the framework and process rather than the end goal.

As everyone is different, then what works for some, may not work for others - that's why we like to offer a wide variety of options.

I guess the main question should really be...

How do you make habits stick?

Ultimately, I think that is the million dollar question isn't it - as we all want to make changes to improve our everyday life (what ever that may be for you)

A few observations

  • Try to make the habits as automatic as possible
  • Be patient
  • A small action each day will have a compound interest over time
  • The most important thing is to do 'the action' every day
  • Never miss 2 days in a row
  • Be flexible - if you have to tweak your routine to make it easier then do so
  • Daily habits can be either good or bad  in the effect they have. We need to acknowledge these habits and continue or stop habits

Life Tonics or habits are the foundations to achieving long term results. Establishing an effective system, that works for you, will enable you maintain the habits you want to become part of your daily routine.

Oh - and bye the way - in the opening sentence I mentioned the 'fear of failure' - if the process or framework is established - there really isn't a failure. You are still, 'a runner,' even if you didn't get the time you wanted in whatever event you did. As a runner (something that you may refer to yourself as) you ultimately just need to get out and run - it doesn't matter how long or fast you go - if you get out your are a runner.

Over the next few months, keep an eye out for further updates and thoughts about how to start and create long lasting habits.