Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.
Let’s break up the key words from this quote…
Motivation: the psychological feature which pushes or arouses one to take action towards a desired goal
Habit: an acquired pattern of behavior that occurs automatically
We all go through our spurts of being extremely motivated…to somewhat motivated…to “I don’t even want to get out of bed this morning.” However, the more we are able to have consistency with our motivation levels on a day to day basis, (motivation levels being high, not low obviously), the more likely all those good habits that you’re trying to instill, will stick.
An study by Phillippa Lally & colleagues from the Cancer Research UK Health Behavior Research Center which was published in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit.
66 days… might sound like a short amount of time to some…and to others, it may sound like an eternity. Regardless, here’s what I would suggest doing in order to stay motivated and allow those positive changes you’ve been making to become secondary nature.
1. Make a goal list.
Don’t just say to yourself what your goals are going to be. Set aside time and make a detailed list, listing short term & long term goals.
2. Put or keep this list someplace where you will see it everyday.
Getting that constant reminder daily should help you stay on track.
3. Recognize your own success.
If you are trying to stop drinking soda and go 7 days without having your normal lunchtime diet coke, take a second and give yourself a pat on the back. Positive reinforcement is a good thing. If you don’t have someone else telling you nice job, you definitely need to be taking the time out and telling yourself that.
4. If you have one “off” day, don’t fret. Instead, take time, refer back to your goal list and have an “on” day tomorrow.
We all have our day to day stressors that sometimes make us want to throw in the towel & quit. It’s how we react to these situations that tell us a great deal about our character and how successful we actually will be in using our motivation to drive and create good habits.
Stay focused, disciplined, and especially motivated, and the good habits your create will take you a long way!