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4 Reasons You Just Can’t Stick With A New Habit

4 Reasons You Just Can’t Stick With A New Habit

It’s that time of year. The January crowds are already out of the gyms, smokers are sneaking out for smoke breaks, and workaholics are powering through 12 hour days again. The enthusiasm of New Year’s resolutions fades away, and you can’t seem to stick with a new habit. Why does this happen? And, more importantly, what do you need to stop doing in order to form new, healthy habits?

1. You believe in “no pain, no gain.”

Many people swear by this old saying. And, while it may work like a charm for some folks, it actually discourages most people. We convince ourselves that we have to struggle and suffer in order to be who we want to be. The most common example of this is in the dieting world. For example, a woman will relentlessly tire herself out at the gym, hoping to fit into a smaller dress for an upcoming event. But, she creates such stress in doing this that all she wants to do is chow down on donuts. The change becomes something that she dreads, and the escape is that safe old habit of overeating. If you incorporate change in a negative, torturous way, it is simply human nature to give up on it.

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Lesson: Do everything you can to ensure a new habit is enjoyable and empowering.

2. You hold yourself to another’s standards.

Another classic and well-intentioned mistake: we try to emulate people we look up to when introducing new habits. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing, but if taken too far, it can sabotage you. For example, your brainiac coworker reads a new book every week. You decide that you want to be as well-read and intellectual as she is, so you try to force this same habit upon yourself. A week later, you fail to finish your first book, you don’t even like the book, and you feel like a failure. What went wrong? Basically, you failed at being another person. You tried to reach a goal through someone else’s process – what works for them. This invalidates any other techniques that may have worked for you. In addition, it places other people on a pedestal and tricks you into believing that external validation will fulfill you. While having a partner in change can help you stay motivated, don’t forget to do what actually works for you.

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Lesson: Don’t compete with others; compete with your old limitations.

3. You think mistakes are a reason to quit.

Any successful person will tell you they fail on a regular basis. Unfortunately, many of us see small setbacks as justification to quit, which blocks us from the actual work of habit formation. Instead of letting our brains and bodies move through the challenging process of change, we look at any mistake and use it as a reason to slip back into old habits and give up. However, mistakes are one of the most critical aspects of habit formation. They give us insight into why we do things (e.g. you realize that stress makes you avoid cleaning your house), while teaching us resilience and patience. In addition, mistakes desensitize us from the fear of failure – something that everyone must overcome to achieve great things.

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Lesson: Mistakes are part of the learning curve, and the learning curve lasts a lifetime.

4. Your identity is rooted in failure.

One of the most devious mental health issues that plagues humanity is a negative self-perception, which will quietly undermine any progress you make. We’ve heard dozens of stories about lottery winners who lost it all, squandering fortunes in a short period of time. And stories of those who lost hundreds of pounds, only to gain back even more once their diets ended. What is this odd phenomenon? Many people chalk it up to human stupidity or laziness, but it’s much deeper and more sophisticated than that. In these situations, we’re dealing with subconscious self-sabotage. Whether you obtain money, fame, fitness, or anything else, you can’t maintain it if your identity is rooted in its opposite.

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For example, if you hit the lottery but still possess a belief that poverty and scarcity surround you, your decisions will reflect that belief. You’ll be broke again in no time. The same goes for the guy or gal who loses 100 pounds – if they still view themselves as unhealthy, unmotivated junk food eaters at heart, that is what they will lapse back into.

Lesson: See yourself at your greatest potential – no matter your circumstances.

Keep these subtle adjustments in mind when aiming to stick with a new habit.

Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019

6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

I’ve stood on the edge of my own personal cliffs many times. Each time I jumped, something different happened. There were risks that started off great, but eventually faded. There were risks that left me falling until I hit the ground. There were risks that started slow, but built into massive successes.

Every risk is different, but every risk is the same. You need to have some fundamentals ready before you jump, but not too many.

It wouldn’t be a risk if you knew everything that was about to happen, would it? Here’re 6 ways to be a successful risk taker.

1. Understand That Failure Is Going to Happen a Lot

It’s part of life. Everything we do has failure attached to it. All successful people have stories of massive failure attached to them. Thinking that your risk is going to be pain free and run as smooth as silk is insane.

Expect some pain and failure. Actually, expect a lot of it. Expect the sleepless nights with crazy thoughts of insecurity that leave you trembling under the covers. It’s going to happen, no matter how positive you are about the risk you are about to take.

When failure hits, the only options are to keep going or quit. If you expect falling into a meadow of flowers and frolicking unicorns, then you’re going to immediately quit once you realize that getting to that meadow requires you to go through a rock filled cave filled with hungry bats.

2. Trust the Muse

Writing a story isn’t a big risk. It’s really just a risk on my time. So when I start writing a story, I’m scared it will be time wasted. Of course, it never really is. Even if the story doesn’t turn out fabulous, I still practiced.

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When I’ve taken risks in my life, the successful ones always seemed to happen when I followed the muse. Steven Pressfield describes the muse,

“The Muse demands depth. Shallow does not work for her. If we’re seeking her help, we can’t stay in the kiddie end. When we work, we have to go hard and go deep.”

The muse is a goddess who wants our attention and wants us to work on our passion.

If you’re taking a risk in anything, it’s assumed that there is some passion built up behind that risk. That passion, deep inside you, is the muse. Trust it, focus on it, listen to it.

The most successful articles and stories I write are the ones I’ve focused all my attention on. There were no interruptions during their creative development. I didn’t check my phone or go watch my Twitter feed. I was fully engaged in my work.

Trust the muse, focus your attention on your risk, let the ideas and path develop themselves, and leave the distractions at the side of the road.

3. Remember to Be Authentic

Taking a risk and then turning into something you’re not, is only going to lead to disaster. Whether you are risking a new relationship or new opportunity, you must be yourself throughout the entire process.

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How many times have you acted like you loved something just because the men or woman you just started going out with loved it?

For example, I’m not an office worker. I have an incredibly hard time working in a confined timeline (ie. 9-5). That’s why I write. I can do it whenever the mood strikes, I don’t have somebody breathing down my neck, telling me that I’m five minutes late, or missed a comma somewhere. I don’t have to walk on eggshells wondering if what I’m writing will get me fired or make me lose a promotion. I can just be myself, period.

One girlfriend didn’t understand that. She believed solely in the 9-5 motto, specifically something in human resources because that was a very stable job. I was scared for my future, but I stuck with the relationship because of my own insecurities and acted like I would do it to make her happy.

Here’s a tip: NEVER take away from your happiness to make somebody else satisfied (note I didn’t say happy).

Making somebody else happy will make you happy. Doing something to satisfy somebody is murder on your soul.

4. Don’t Take Any Risks While You’re Not Clearheaded

I’d been considering the risk for a couple weeks. It all sounded good. I was 22 and I could be rich in a couple of years. That’s what they were selling me, anyways.

One night, while at a house party with some friends, I found myself at a computer. A couple of my friends were standing nearby and asked me what I was doing. I told them I was considering starting my own business and it was only going to cost me $1,500.

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Of course, when a bunch of drunk people are surrounded by more drunk people, things get enthusiastic. It sounded like the best business venture in the world to everybody, including me. So I signed up and gave them my credit card number.

A few painful months and close to $4,000 dollars lost later, I quit the business. I was young and fell into the pyramid scheme trap. It was an expensive drunk decision.

Drinking heavily and making decisions has a proven track record of failure. So when you have something important to decide, don’t let your emotions take over your brain.

5. Fully Understand What You’re Risking

It was the start of my baseball comeback. I got a tryout with a professional scout and killed it. After the tryout, he talked to my girlfriend and myself, making sure we understood I would be gone for up to 6 months at a time. That strain on the relationship could be tough.

We understood. I left to play ball, chose to stay in the city I played in, and a year later we broke up. Not because of baseball, see point 3 above. Taking big risks can have massive impacts on everything in your life from relationships to money. Know what you’re risking before you take the risk.

If you believe the risk will be worth it or you have the support you need from your family, then go ahead and make the leap.

You can get more guidance on how to take calculated risks from this article: How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve More and Become Successful

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6. Remember This Is Your One Shot Only

As far as we know officially, this is our one shot at life, so why not take some risks?

The top thing people are saddened by on their deathbeds are these regrets. They wish they did more, asked that girl in the coffee shop out, spoke out when they should have, or did what they were passionate about.

Don’t regret. Learn and experience. Live. Take the risks you believe in. Be yourself and make the world a better place.

Now go ahead, take that risk and be successful at it!

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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