Updated: June 12, 2023
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One afternoon, while resting from my workout at the gym, I found myself staring at the wall across the bench I was sitting on.
Posted on the wall is a big sign that reads, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”
I’ve seen that quote so many times, and yet I’m amazed at how it always inspires me whenever I read it.
Indeed, with enough motivation, we can usually take that “first step” towards change very easily; but without that “habit,” – we often fail to follow through with our efforts and eventually never reach our goal.
Did you make a New Year’s Resolution last January? It’s now the middle of the year. Are you still good on your promises?
So were you able to lose weight? Stop smoking? Save more money? If not, don’t blame yourself, for you still have half a year to make your goal.
But this time, maybe it will help if you try these tips on how you can “keep it going”.
1. Adapt a long-term perspective with your motivation.
You want to go on vacation by the end of the year, so you decide to save money for it. This is a good and effective reason, but there’s a way to build on it.
Aside from having that goal of taking that year-end vacation, tell yourself that you’re working on forming the habit of saving because, eventually, you want the freedom and the means to go on vacation anytime.
2. Write it down.
Whenever you want something done, always write it down, then post it where you’ll often see it. Reading your goal in bold letters will serve as a daily reminder and this really helps reinforce positive habits.
Read more reasons why you should write down your goals on paper.
3. Know your obstacles and prepare a solution.
So you decided to start saving money, but you know you’re an impulse buyer. What can you do? Perhaps leave your credit cards at home or avoid going to malls when there’s a sale.
Make it harder for you to do the bad habits you’re trying to change. And if you’re aware of the challenges that will “break your momentum,” it’s easier to prepare and be ready with your solutions if they come.
4. Break it down, and take baby steps.
Do you want to cut your spending? Don’t altogether change your lifestyle in one day, or you’ll end up hating it. Do one thing at a time, like simply bringing your own lunch to work a few times a week.
Then once you get the hang of that, start taking the bus instead of riding a cab to work. Then maybe after a month, change another thing and so on.
5. Make a schedule.
As I’ve said in the previous tip – take baby steps. This also means taking the time to write down a schedule of the things you plan to do across your calendar.
It’s not enough to just keep them in your head. Like your goals, writing your tasks helps in forming them into a habit.
6. Have a Commitment Checker.
When you tell your family and friends about a positive habit you’re working on, you’ll become more committed to achieving it. Assign one or two of them as your Commitment Checker.
Doing this will gain you the moral support you need, especially when things become difficult and challenging.
7. Measure your progress, and report it.
The best part of forming a positive habit is seeing that you’re actually making progress.
For instance, if your piggy bank is now half-full, then tell and promise your Commitment Checker you’ll open and count the money in front of them when it becomes full.
Sharing such anticipation with others will really help in making you “cross that finish line.”
8. Persist, despite failures.
“Falling off the wagon” is not fatal. It can, and it does happen.
It helps to remember that when you fail, you don’t really go back to where you started. You actually begin from where you left off and continue from there.
Which means you’re wiser and better this time around. Keep in mind that habits are formed because of persistence and not because of perfection.
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