Letting Yourself Down is a Habit
Here’s How to Change in 3 Simple Steps
Do you say things like, I’m never going to eat sugar again and then eat the first cupcake that is available to you?
Do you say to yourself… I’m going to start a work out routine, and then on day 2 you don’t feel like it, so you say to yourself, I’ll start tomorrow or next week?
Always letting yourself down…
But for some reason…
When you tell your friend, I’ll meet you for dinner at 7:00, you show up.
Why do you let yourself down, but not your friend?
Why is that?
Because standing up your friend has immediate consequences.
1. Make the Habit Have Immediate Consequences
Habits with Immediate Consequences are the easiest to develop. Flaking on your girlfriend for a dinner date has the immediate consequence of her being angry with you – that’s why you don’t do it.
Not being on time for work might result in you being reprimanded – immediate consequence.
Habits with No Immediate Consequences however, are a bit harder to create.
Eating junk food or skipping your workout will eventually show up on your scale or on your doctor’s test results, but not for a while.
Can you make the consequences for your habit immediate?
- Ask someone to be your accountability partner
- Meet a friend at the gym for regular workouts
- Text a friend each time you complete a workout
- Keep a food diary and share it with your designated accountability person
- Make not doing what you want painful
- Agree to pay money to someone if you don’t do what you say you want to
- Remind yourself of the future consequences…
- How terrible you feel when you don’t
- How bad you look when you don’t
- How disappointed with yourself you will be
2. Create Continuous Motivation
To stay motivated we really need to remind ourselves constantly of why we want to change the habit in the first place.
For example, why do we want to mediate? How does it help?
- If you became interested in meditation through reading about its benefits, find more meditation articles and books that will continue to stoke the fires and keep you motivated until you are confident the habit is safely in place.
- Keep a visual “gold star” board, give yourself a “gold star” every time you perform the habit.
- Use a habit tracker application on your phone that not only reminds you to do the habit, but also provides a satisfying visual, like a check mark or streak data.
- Post pictures that represent your habit goals on a vision board or on the frig – somewhere you will see them every day.
- Try to change these reminders up every month, so you don’t grow blind or immune to the effects.
Sometimes I simply forget about the habit I’m trying to create when a simple reminder would have kept me on track.
The key with reminders is to make them fool proof. If you don’t look at your planner on Saturdays or Sundays, having your reminder in there will do you no good.
Find something that works for you every day, a note on the bathroom mirror, refrigerator, or by your toothbrush.
3. Start from Scratch
If you have a habit of not doing things for yourself or others that you say you are going to do, you may want to hit the reset button.
- Remove all promises to yourself or others and start from a blank slate
- Consciously choose one item that you are going to commit to doing
- Make it very easy
- Set a time and day that you will do the thing
- Set a reminder
- NO MATTER WHAT – do it!
For example. I have wanted to mediate daily for a long time. I do meditate, but not every day and sometimes… I take extended breaks from it. I, for some reason, continue to break the promise to myself to meditate every single day.
So… here is what I’m going to do.
I’m going to start from scratch.
- I’m going to remove all the notifications I currently have for mediating on my phone, in my planner, etc.
- I’m going to stop aiming for 15 minutes every day at whatever helter-skelter time I wanted to do it.
- Gone, empty your brain. No meditation habits or hopes anywhere in my head or plans.
Re-Choose to create a daily meditation habit. Commit to it.
- I am going to mediate every day.
I’m going to make it easy.
- I’m going to meditate every day for 5 minutes. That is it. That’s all I have to do – 5 minutes every single day.
I’m going to set a time and day.
- I’m going to meditate every morning when I wake up, for 5 minutes.
- Pour coffee
- Sit in comfortable chair
- Meditate 5 minutes
I’m going to set a reminder
- I wake at 6:30 every morning, my phone is my alarm so I carry it out with me and pour my coffee. Then I go sit in my chair anyway with my phone.
- So at 6:35 am I will have a reminder pop-up on my phone to Meditate for 5 min.
NO MATTER WHAT tomorrow morning, I will mediate for 5 minutes.
When this 5-minute practice becomes habit without thinking, I can then adjust it for longer or add another session etc. 5 minutes is my bare minimum.
I know habit creation is a pretty popular topic right now and there are a ton of good books and blogs out there for you to get really good, well-researched information on creating your own habits.
These tips are what work for me and as we all know, life is a journey not a destination. I’m always trying something new or adjusting my path.
I hope this helps you to tackle some of those difficult to make habits in your every days.