Habit Forming Through Baby Steps

habit forming

If you are anything like me, you’ll find that when you try to form a good habit, you get to day 2 or 3 and it all falls apart. Bad habits aren’t so difficult, but we want to form good habits.

No matter what I try to do, whether it be a daily meditation practice or exercise routine, I start out really well, full of ambition and excitement and then the nasty gremlin in the back of my head starts to make excuses.

“One day won’t make a difference.”

“It’s just too hard today.”

“Too much work, must do work, will pick up my routine tomorrow.”

But then the next day comes along and wham, there it is again.

“Two day won’t make a difference.”

“What’s the use, you’re a failure anyway.”

And so it goes.

So what do you do to prevent this. In my opinion, start small. I will be expanding on Robin Sharma’s The Monk That Sold His Ferrari, so expect a few more post related to it. This is the first one and I think the most important.

It’s one thing to have good intentions, to decide you will do this and that to form your daily practices of self-mastery, but if you can’t keep it up, what’s the point? So, instead of doing an hour or half and hour of meditation, and going for an hour long walk or gym routine, take baby steps in your habit forming.

It is said it takes 21 days to rewire the brain in order to form a habit. For those 21 days, do 5 or 10 minutes of meditation. Go for a 20 minute walk. Do 10 sit ups. Make it small, manageable and form the daily habit. Once you have formed the habit, then you can start adding to it and grow the daily routine by forming a new habit of doing the same things, just more of them.

There could be an argument here that says form a meditation habit for 21 days, then add exercise, then add yoga, but I would suggest implementing them all from the beginning. So if you are following Robin Sharma’s book like I am, then plan your daily routine around all of the practices, but as I said, take it slow, take it easy, make it small. This has one great advantage. When that ugly beasty raises its head to say just skip today, you can retaliate and reply “It’s just 10 minutes, hardly any effort.” and therefore, you will move forward.

There will be some times where you just can’t physically do this or that. Let’s say you exercise on day 1 and the next day you can hardly move without experiencing excruciating pain. Sure, you could work through the pain, or you can give yourself a couple days to let your muscles recover, but then go for it, every single day without excuse.

As another example, you may find yourself in hospital and you can’t exercise or do yoga. That’s fine, things happen, but then don’t give up everything. Ask yourself, ok, so I can’t do that practice, what can I do? You may find that even though you can’t do 10 sit ups, you can meditate and because you are stuck in a bed you can do a lot of goal setting, practice patience, kindness, so you focus on other areas of your self-mastery routine.

At the end of the day you are doing this to be a better you. If you don’t really fancy that, then don’t bother, but if you want to the best you can possibly be, then you have to put in the effort. As Nike says, just do it.

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