It Became a Habit

Years ago, I decided to add more water to my day and made a goal that I would drink 8 glasses (approx. 2 liters) a day. That was a common recommendation at the time, and is still often cited as a solid guideline for most people. For years I’d read about all the benefits of drinking more water - increases energy, flushes out toxins, improves skin, boosts immunity, relieves fatigue etc. etc. I could write a whole newsletter on this alone, but you’ve got the picture. 

So, I made a commitment to myself and stuck with it. Whenever I wanted a Diet Coke (I was a fan in those days), I promised myself I could have one after I drank all my water.  I kept a glass of water with me at my desk all the time. I found new ways to enjoy it, my favorite being adding a slice of lemon.  After a month or so, I began to crave water when I didn’t have enough of it.  It became a habit.

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Jim Ryan

Why was I successful?  Because it was manageable – it was just one goal. A problem many people have is they start with a list of a dozen (or more) things they want to stop, or start doing. 

It's happened to most of us. That energetic wave of motivation you felt so fired up about when you first set your mind to it, completely flies out the window within days (sometimes hours!).
Two of the biggest reasons people fail in achieving their goals are by trying to accomplish too many goals simultaneously and by setting goals that are too big. At a conscious level, the things on your list may look very reasonable and achievable, but deep inside, they can be overwhelming. You go into protection mode, and nothing happens.

"People do not decide their futures; they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures."  FM Alexander

It’s amazing to think about, but nearly 10 months of the year are behind us. Did you have one or more health goals for yourself this year? Have you been successful? If so – I’m sending you a high five!  If you’re not quite there, I encourage you to choose one thing, just one (and the simpler the better), start today and do it for next 30 days. Here are just a few ideas to consider:

  • Take the dog for a walk once a day, instead of just sending your pooch out in the yard.
  • Download a meditation app and spend 20 minutes clearing your mind, instead of watching a mindless reality TV show (at least consider replacing your least favorite one).
  • Pack real food for lunch one day a week, instead of going through the drive-thru or grabbing “food” from a vending machine.

I’m a huge supporter of filling your life with good habits. Give yourself a fighting chance for success by taking one step at a time, one habit at a time. Once you do, you may amaze yourself with how far you’ve come. It’s been said that habits are unconscious actions that make up 95% of what we do. Make them good ones and let them do the work for you!
Need help choosing that one thing or coming up with a way to make your goal manageable? Please – send me note. I’d be happy to help you sort through it. Imagine how great you’ll feel at the end of year when you can proudly pat yourself on the back and say, “I did it!”
Wishing you success!