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Make yourself do it

31st Jul 20166m13s

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  • How to change your habits. Or how to achieve your New Year's resolutions, which is the same as changing your habits. I've been reading a lot of books lately about how to improve your life, how to develop new habits, how to become a better person. And a lot of them offer the same kind of advice when it comes to changing habits, they all say start with one at a time because trying to change too many habits at the same time is difficult. Secondly, visualize yourself with your new habit in place and how it feels, and use that to motivate you to keep going when there are days where you don't feel like doing it. Thirdly, create a ritual, so try and do what you want to do at the same time, at the same place every single day so that it becomes a part of your life, more so than if you were to do it randomly. And fourthly, recognize that it's hard to change your habit, and that it's gonna be difficult on some days. And therefore you just have to keep going, you just have to motivate yourself by asking yourself why you wanted to do it in the first place. And that ties into the visualization a little bit. So that's usually the advice you get when you wanna find out how you should change your habits, or how to effectively change your habits without failing. 'Cause a lot of people fail, a lot of people set New Year's resolutions and then after a few weeks they just stop doing them because of laziness, because of apathy, inertia, things get hard. Motivation doesn't last for very long, willpower doesn't last for very long. For example, research has shown that our willpower is stronger at the start of the day than it is at the end of the day. So you wanna get through the most difficult and the least desirable things at the start of the day, when your willpower's at its maximum. And I think it's the same for new goals that we want to achieve or when we want to change our habits. Often when we first think of the idea, we're really motivated, we're really excited and we have a lot of willpower to work at it. But then as the days go by, as the weeks go by, that decreases, decreases, decreases up until a point where at some point we're gonna ask ourselves, "Why am I doing this in the first place?" Or, "Do I really want to do this, do I really want to "do this today, maybe I can just take today off "and go to the gym tomorrow", whatever it is. So I wanna discuss a slightly different approach to this, and it's from a quote that I came across recently and it's actually from a YouTube video, motivational speaker, and he said, "At the end "of your principles is a promise. "And at the end of your feelings is nothing." You don't feel like waking up today and doing your workout, well, you're not alone in that. A lot of people don't feel like doing it. But if you have it as a principle that you should wake up and do your workout then that's a promise you've made to yourself and so you should wake up and you should get it done. 'Cause if you miss out today, maybe you're gonna set your progress back by many, many days. So what he was getting at was that sometimes you really don't feel like doing the things you know you're supposed to do in order to get to where you wanna to be, but you still have to do them anyway, you have to just make yourself do them. And in my own personal experience in trying to change my habits and develop new habits, and become fitter, excel more in different areas of my life, this keeps coming up again and again and again. Most of the time I don't really feel like doing these things and yet, on the general level, I know that these things are good for me. So what am I supposed to do? And all these bits of advice that were given about how to change habits seem to me, a way of making yourself feel good about doing the things you need to do. So if you can make yourself feel good about doing it and excited about doing it, then you're likely to do it. But what if you really just don't feel excited? What if you really don't want to do it and you can't even make yourself feel excited about it? But you know you ought to do it in order to achieve your goals. So the solution really is just to make yourself do it. Now it sounds a bit masochistic, and I'm sure some people will say that, "Well, if you really don't feel "like doing it, why do it? "Maybe that's your inner soul telling you "that it's not the right thing for you at that moment." But I disagree with that, I think that we know when something's really out of alignment with who we truly are deep down, and we know when we shouldn't do such a thing. This is different, this is where we know we ought to do it, we really just don't feel like doing it and nothing is motivating us to do it. So this is the kind of thing where making yourself do it really helps, and one of the tricks, if you will, in this area, is to tell yourself you're just gonna do it for 10 minutes, whatever it is. Maybe it's a workout you promised yourself you're gonna do a half and hour workout everyday, an intensive workout in the morning. So just tell yourself, "I'm gonna do it for 10 minutes." And then usually what happens is, as you've done it for 10 minutes, it's much easier to keep going. So that's the idea of inertia, once you're moving it's easier to keep moving. Same as if you wanna go to the gym and workout, the first time you go to gym, getting yourself to go there might be really hard but after you've been once it's easier to get yourself to go a second time unless you leave it too long between each go, of course. So making yourself do it is, in my opinion, the ultimate fallback method for achieving your goals and changing your habits. Because you're literally forcing yourself to do it even though you don't feel like doing it. And it's important to do this because this is what's gonna build a momentum. So momentum is what's gonna carry you forward through those days where you really don't wanna do it. And you're not gonna have the momentum if you haven't been consistently doing it up until that point. So if you have to make yourself do it, if you have to make yourself get up in the morning and do your workout, or make yourself go out there and give that public speech, or approach that girl, whatever it is, just do it. That is the way to achieve it, that's the guaranteed way in which you will actually get to your goals. And overall, once you've done it, usually you feel pretty good about it, you feel happy that you did it. Even though before you really didn't want to do it. And the reason you feel happy is because you did something that was important to you, that was important to getting you closer to where you wanna be.