Have you ever noticed that when you stretch a rubber band and then let go, it immediately goes back to its original state? That’s often how it is when we’re trying to create new habits and patterns in our life. It’s a natural human response for us to snap right back.
Imagine: You attend a seminar about living your best life and you get really pumped up. You learn tons of new ideas and are so jazzed and can’t wait to implement new routines when you get home. For the first few days, you’re on fire! Working out every morning, eating healthy, and getting good rest. But then slowly, you find yourself skipping workouts, making a beeline for the ice cream, and staying up too late and not getting good rest. And then, you’re right back where you started before the seminar.
Sound familiar? We humans are creatures of habit. And we like doing things that are easy and feel good! You might say that it doesn’t feel good when you eat junk food but I would say right back to you: Yeah, but in the short-term, you’re certainly getting something from it that feels good, or you wouldn’t make that choice. It might be comfort, familiarity, or an easy auto-pilot option where you really don’t have to think too much. And therein lies the image of the rubber band going back to its initial state.
So, if this is how we’re wired, then we’ll need to work a little harder to make lasting changes and avoid slipping back into old habits. Here’s how to stay focused and motivated in life:
1. Make a Plan and Transfer It to Your Calendar
It’s one thing to say you’ll “workout more”, but what does that really mean? If you say you’ll, “Get on the treadmill every morning at 8am for 20 minutes”, now you’re on to something! Block the time on your calendar so it’s an appointment with yourself and treat is as such. You wouldn’t bail on a meeting with a client or co-worker, right? Be sure to give yourself the same respect. And build in the buffer time you need before and afterwards. In my last post, I talked about the importance of creating structure and routine in your day, and you might want to get started there.
2. Remember that Action Precedes Motivation
I hear clients get down on themselves for not being able to find the motivation to create new habits. But it’s normal to have a tough time accessing motivation. Sometimes, that “motivation” can get pretty elusive. So, instead of waiting around for it (truth: it may never come), take action! And you’ll be surprised at how quickly the motivation follows. Have you ever lost a few pounds and then got excited to continue on with your weight loss? Mostly because the initial success fuels you to keep going? That’s what I’m talking about. It’s all about building confidence and self-esteem.
Take action and the motivation will follow!
3. Connect With Your “Why”
It’s really important to me to schedule downtime during my day. It helps me feel centered, grounded, peaceful, calm, confident, and on top of my game. So, why on earth would I slip back into old habits and let “something else” override that sacred time in my day?
Well, first of all, I’m human. But secondly, it’s because I lost track of my “why”. In other words, I started seeing that down-time as just another thing on my to-do list… and we all need less things on our to-do list, right? I had become disconnected from why that downtime was so important to me. Once I paused and reflected upon the nurturing results it gave me, it was a no-brainer to ensure that I schedule downtime back into my day. No excuses!
How to Keep Going: Staying Focused and Motivated
Defaulting back to old habits is way too easy. And the process is sneaky. In my situation that I just described, all of a sudden a few weeks had passed and I had completely lost sight of that all-important downtime in my day. I didn’t even realize it had magically evaporated from my calendar, a.k.a. my priorities.
Remember that it’s a natural process to default back to the old stuff (cue the rubber band). This is one of the big reasons people hire a coach! For accountability and self-improvement, it’s essential that you have a plan, take action, and stay focused on why the plan matters to you. It takes time, effort, and commitment to make lasting changes. And it’s also some of the most important work you can do.
How would you like a partner to help you stay you on-track? Working with a personal coach makes the journey smoother, easier, and definitely more fun! Check out LifeShine’s Get Back on Track program to set yourself up for success.
I’m cheering you on!