“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.” Aristotle
The way we think has a big impact in everything we do. For example, you started an exercise program or started saving 10% of your monthly salary but failed to continue with it. What is the reason behind failing to continue with what you wanted to do? These objectives will not work if you solely depend on willpower and enthusiasm.
Your enthusiasm is usually high when you start any new self-improvement program or project. The thought of enjoying the things you want motivates you to initiate a project. Over time, your enthusiasm slowly diminishes until you stop doing what you have started.
Depending on your willpower, your enthusiasm can diminish. You exhaust your willpower every time you let go of doing things that you have started until it is completely washed out. Moreover, you do not have an infinite supply of willpower just like everyone else. Once it gets exhausted, you tend to stop and go back to your old habits. The loss of interest in continuing with what you have started and merely depending on your willpower will make you abandon the activity completely. But don’t be discouraged! There are ways that you can condition your brain to maintain the goals you set for yourself.
Transforming Your Desired Activity into a Good Habit
Your subconscious mind is the main element that runs your life. It dictates you to do the normal daily activities from taking a bath to walking or biking. To start a new neural pathway, you need to improve the power of your unconscious brain cells. You can do this by choosing to develop a new habit subconsciously. It becomes easier to do an activity once you have established a new habit so you do not need enthusiasm and willpower.
- Set Simple Objectives.
Simple objectives are easier to start with and accomplish. For example, begin with a walking exercise 15 minutes a day, eat fruits and raw veggies instead of junk foods, or set a 10-minute meditation time every day. Your brain gets excited with simple and small activities.
2. Use a Stimulus.
A stimulus incites and quickens feelings, thoughts or actions. It makes you do something else automatically or feel and act impulsively. A full meal pushes smokers to smoke. Commit yourself to meditate each day after breakfast and you will find doing this activity a normal task each morning.
You can also use visual stimulus. To motivate you to wake up early, put your work clothes on the bed, or put fresh fruits on the table instead of junk foods.
- Start Early.
Your determination is high in the morning, driving you to accomplish things. Meditate or exercise in the morning and have a fulfilling day. Prepare an early healthy dinner so you have something to eat when you arrive home.
- Have Everything You Need to Succeed.
Ensure you have the proper items or things to be able to achieve what you want. Get yourself good and comfortable shoes to start a walking, running or cycling program. Have some sort of inspirational quotes to help you start a quiet or meditation time.
- Set a Convenient and Suitable Time and Place.
It is necessary to schedule an activity at your most convenient time and at the most suitable place. Make sure you have a noiseless area or nook for reflection. Find a convenient and suitable place to start your running, walking or cycling program. Check your area, as it may be near a park ideal for walking, running or cycling.
- Have Fun.
Enjoying and having fun in doing an activity is essential because it will make you continue on doing it. Do not make it like a chore, as it will feel like punishing yourself.
Look for ways to change your lifestyle so you can enjoy life better. Walk and run with a friend, sibling, parent or your children. Look for some programs that produce a positive feeling in you. Learn a new activity like cooking delicious and healthy foods.
- Don’t Lose Heart.
Keep believing that you can do it. Have a calendar of activities. If you choose to meditate every morning, mark that with a big red “YES”. Put a big “thumbs up sign” if you choose to exercise in the morning. Make sure to have a mark each day. Avoid having any blank days. Practice this method every day for one month and you will see that this new habit will be developed within you.
By now, you can start establishing a new neural pattern in your brain. Building a new habit will help you achieve better changes that can transform your life completely. Remember, it takes a single simple step to tread on a thousand miles. You can attain your goal by starting small and simple — enjoying it and believing in yourself!