Good morning fellow humans,
It is another dreary day here in Kansas- but some days you must bring your own sunshine so that is what I hope to provide to you today.
I have been on a personal development journey now for a year or so and I have a constant drive to becoming a better version of myself. I do this for both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation meaning I’m both driven by external ‘rewards’ money, fame, grades, and praise but largely driven by internal ‘rewards’ to simply enjoy an activity or see it as an opportunity to explore, learn, and in pursuit of manifesting my God-given potential. To do this I try to adopt emotional, physical, and mental healthy habits.
John Maxwell writes
‘I believe that the secret of your success is determined by your daily agenda. If you make a few key decisions and then manage them well in your daily agenda, you will succeed. You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. You see, success, doesn’t just suddenly occur one day in someone’s life. For that matter, neither does failure. Each is a process. Every day of your life is merely preparation for the next. What you become is the result of what you do today. In other words… You are preparing for something.’
I recently was reading ‘Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives’ by Gretchen Rubin bestselling author of The Happiness Project and had a light bulb moment of how I and you probably self sabotage your healthy habits all the time.
I can’t tell you the numbers of times I have before tried to incorporate a health habit or perhaps stop an unhealthy one… that I set up a finish line.
Adding a Health Habit:
- Once I loose 10 pounds I’ll let myself have a piece of chocolate cake.
- If I mediate Monday -Friday I can take Saturday & Sunday off.
Taking away an Unhealthy Habit:
- If I don’t drink for 30 days I can earn a bottle of wine purchase.
- If I don’t watch tv or scan social media during the evenings I can binge watch my favorite show on the weekends.
Does anyone see the problem? But we all do this– we sabotage our healthy habit incorporation by rewarding it with an healthy one that we are trying to eliminate. We also then make the reward a ‘break’ from our health habit- because we ‘deserve it and have earned it’ causing our healthy habit to feel less rewarding for the simple fact that they are healthy for us.
‘Because rewards can undermined habit formation, I didn’t want to focus on rewards to motivate myself; nevertheless, a habit must be rewarding in some way, or I wouldn’t bother to do it all. My challenge, therefore was to make my habits rewarding without sabotaging myself with rewards. How? By finding my reward within the habit itself, with a reward that takes me deeper into the habit. If I look outside a habit for reward, I undermine the habit. If I look within the habit for the reward, I strengthen the habit.’
‘Say you want to start packing lunch for work. Instead of thinking, ‘as a reward for preparing and bringing in my own lunch, I’ll splurge on a lunch at an expensive restaurant on Friday,’ you think, ‘Now that I’m bringing in lunch every day, I’m going to splurge on a fabulous set of knives, so my habit of cooking is more fun.’
‘Say you say if I quit drinking for a month I’m going to buy an ipod. A ‘reward’ changes your attitude toward a behavior. At some level, it causes you to think ‘I’m not drinking because I want an Ipad.’ But if you think ‘I’m not drinking because I want to feel healthier, more energetic, and more in control. Added Benefit: I have extra money to buy things I want.’ That’s a different state of mind, and might shift the way you view drinking in the future.’
This was my ‘aha’ moment as Miss Oprah calls them. If you haven’t heard of Oprah keep your eyes out on this up and coming lady – I see real potential in her.
I wanted to share with you, because it was a beneficial exercise after this earth shattering knowledge- to write down the 10 habits I’m trying to adopt currently and want to in the future but of course limiting myself to tackling one at a time. The goal of focusing on one at a time is utilizing your full effort and having it then become engrained or natural before I move on. This results in basically snowballing healthy habits on solid sturdy foundation.
Here are some I thought I’d share :
Goal Habit: Meditate 5 minutes everyday
- Previous reward: (If I did it Monday-Friday, I could take ‘off Sat & Sunday’)
- New reward: after implementing meditation I can purchase a meditation pillow to allow me to sit more comfortably during meditation therefor making me enjoy it at a higher level.
Goal Habit: Eat low carb, no sugar, no booze
- Previous reward: (If I did it throughout the month hubby and I could go out to eat for a cheat meal with cheat drinks)
- New reward: Sticking to a plan that makes me feel healthy and rejuvenated allows me to be more present.
- Along the way I can purchase better quality meats, produce, or cooking utensils to make healthy cooking more enjoyable.
Goal Habit: Exercise 30 minutes daily
- Previous reward: (If I did it Monday-Friday, I could take ‘off Sat & Sunday’ or have extra ‘cheat meal’)
- New reward: Sticking to a plan that makes me feel healthy, comfortable naked, and ready anytime for a fun spur of the moment pool day at the YMCA with the kids where I would not be self conscious and instead be totally preoccupied with the fun at hand. Or purchasing more comfortable or nicer quality work out clothes, shoes, or gym gadgets.
I hope you start to see the trend. It is more likely you will stick to your habit and not sabotage your progress if you do indeed try to find the habit itself enjoyable and use ‘rewards’ to increase the joy or the spark to do that particular habit. Hopefully this means you will keep the habit up as part of your lifestyle and want to continue to find further rewards for healthy living that make you live a more rewarding and healthy life.
‘If you want to change your life, you must first change something you do everyday’
(Non -Alcoholic) Cheers to growth, changing, happiness, and health!
That’s all until next time!