The recent few months forced many of us to change the way we have been living our life compelling us into routines we never imagined getting into. Working from home which till now was a luxury suddenly became the order of the day. Concalls and video calls took over traveling as we peeked into each other’s houses while trying to get work done.
For some people the change was easy as they effortlessly slipped into their new routines without much hassle and complaints. This set of people though was a minority as the majority were still struggling to fit into these new routines.
The biggest challenge facing us as we try to change the way we have been living our life is the resistance that we encounter from our existing habits. Overcoming that challenge is the first big step towards developing a new routine.
Some of us who would have adopted a new habit successfully would have done so after adapting to the new way of working while also accepting it intrinsically. However, people still struggling to internalize it are the ones who would need to put in even more efforts to become used to the new pattern. So, what ensure we stay true to the new routine and what leads to failure?
What Makes it difficult to Stick to the new Habits
Look around you and find out what prompts you to carry on with the new habit you wish to develop. If your environment is supportive of it, it will flourish for sure.
For example if you are thinking of reading and the books are kept in the most inaccessible of places compared to a TV remote or mobile which are easy to access, you know what you will do, the moment you get some free time.
- Trying to Copy someone
If you are trying to do something new just because someone else is doing it without much of a belief in it, chances are you will not adhere to it as you would witness your attention flickering not allowing you the necessary focus needed to accomplish the task.
- Trying to achieve it big in the beginning itself
If you objective is to begin exercising, starting with a 1-hour routine is a straight recipe for disaster as your mind will begin to dish out some amazing excuses on why it should not be done.
And to avoid the mental dissonance, you will give in to its demands which will only lead to abandonment of the new routine.
How to Stick to the new Habits
I will only focus on two here. If we can work on these two things, it will not only lead to progress but also tenability in our behaviour.
- Having a Strong belief
This would mean that the reason why you want to do something new is coming from your own internal self. We all have an ideal self of ours and when our new habits emerge out of it, they are to some extent are a manifestation of our own sub consciousness and thus are relatively easier to hold on to in the long run.
- Start Small
I will start with a small story here.
In a marriage party, the bridegroom’s family told the groom’s family members that they would be serving one sheep for every person from their family in attendance right now. They were about 100 in numbers and those 100 people were now supposed to eat 100 sheep.
It is practically impossible for one person to eat the whole sheep. However, one elderly person came out with a solution and asked the bridegroom’s family they will have it, only if they get served one sheep at a time, implying one sheep will be cooked first served and then the second will be cooked. They were able to finish off those 100 sheep this way.
The same goes for habits. If you try to eat 100 sheep, you will never will be able to do it. Starting small though can ensure success even for impossible looking feats as it removes the initial resistance we all have to face when doing something new.
So, instead of reading 30 pages, begin with 10 lines. Instead of running for 5 KM’s, walk for 10 minutes. These small steps provide the necessary motivation and courage as well as develop patterns, which enables us to follow the bigger dream of reading a book in a week or running marathons.
So, which new routine have you begin with during this lockdown and has it been sustainable until now?