How do you feel when beginning a new habit or setting out on a new goal? What happens to your emotions when you lose the motivation to continue? This is the way in which our natural rhythm rises and dips in motivation. It does not mean you are a failure or cannot achieve the goal you set for yourself. It simply is an example of our natural motivation cycles.
As February roars on we may find our will to stick with the sometimes lofty aspirations we set for ourselves waiver and that’s OKAY! Instead of beating yourself up over these minor transgressions to attain a mile high goal, why not have a little self-compassion and ease your way into a new habit?
Research has shown that it is easier to create new habits on top of existing habits. Additionally, building in tiny new habits helps you to release the habits you would like to break- it actually aides in our motivation for change and for strengthening our resolve in our new ritual.
So start small! When you set a new goal or habits remember your motivation is high. As “life” occurs and momentum slows, as part of our natural motivation cycle, we begin to stray from our steady and straight path towards a new goal or habit.
So how can we gently ease ourselves into new habits and bring on our grander goals? One methodology I have found useful is to attach a small change to an ‘existing habit’ that I do (nearly naturally) everyday. For instance, every day I wake up, I eat food, and I sleep. Most days I check my email, text a friend, and walk out my front door. These are all ‘existing habits’. In order to implement a new small habit attach it to one of these existing habits. For instance, if my goal is to read more I may set my new habit as “I will read one page before I sleep every night.” It sounds small right? But it is likely that some days I may read more and some days that one page will be just right and enough to make me feel as though I am moving forward in my newly formed habit.
My new tiny habit I would like to implement this month is to write more. Every day while drinking my coffee (existing habit) I pledge to myself to write one sentence. I’m sure some days I will write more and some days that once sentence will be perfect for my motivation level that day. I chose this habit as it will eventually lead me to writing more articles and being able to contribute more and more to NutritionChics (the larger goal).
I’d love for you to challenge yourselves to start small in forming a new habit and to build upon your ‘existing habits’. The result is not to over-achieve or be too grand! Keep in mind that your motivation will waiver at some points so set yourself up for success and for happy moods!
I’ve listed a couple of tiny habits to help you start generating your own ideas on how to begin small to achieve big:
Want to begin playing an instrument…play three chords
Want to start a yoga practice…practice one sun salutation
Want to implement more self care…put some lotion
Want to feel more connected…reach out to one friend a day and share a memory or thought
Creating these new habits aid you to naturally achieve the larger aspirations you may have for yourself, one happy achievement at a time.