“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Our life is composed full of habits – both good and bad.
There is huge gap between ‘What we know’ and ‘What we do’. We simply fail to create the necessary discipline to convert what we know to what we do. This is what I call the intention-behaviour gap.
Let’s face it – it is not that we are dumb or stupid to not know the difference between good and bad habits. We simply fail to acknowledge the struggle between the mind and the body.
“The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak,”
However, there is a way out. Here are few tips that helped me and probably would help you build some healthy habits.
- Start small: It could be as simple as ‘Floss one tooth’ suggested by a Stanford Professor, B.J.Fogg of Tiny Habits. Or trying starting your exercise habit by ‘Doing one push-up’ as suggested by Stephen Guise of Mini habits. I have been experimenting with a variety of tiny habits: doing 5-second stretches in the morning, building 2 minutes morning/ evening routines. It is easy to conquer and small wins is helping me built momentum to continue. Consistency is the key.
- Focus on one: Trying to conquer all at once is difficult – we all know it. But I learned it the hard way. I got greedy and tried too much in one shot. By narrowing my focus on just one habit at a time, I was able to concentrate. It helped me build some great habits:
- I now got the habit of drinking a glass of water, immediately after I wake up.
- I now start my work day at office (before I rampantly start checking my emails), by creating a daily to-do list.
- I now drink at least a cup of fruit juice everyday.
- Schedule it: It is always better to allocate a particular time of the day to build your habit routine. When I started my habit building process, I realized the best time to build a routine is before I go to work or after I came back from work. For me, the 7 pm at night became my habit-building time. I have since then started including my exercise routine, daily meditation practice and writing everyday process during this time. So schedule your habit.
- Habit stacking: Just like most of you, ‘I forget to do it’ is the most common excuse I gave myself. Solution: Habit stacking. It is the art of queuing your new habit to an already existing habit.
- I will do meditation immediately after coming back from office.
- I will drink a cup of water immediately after I wake up.
After is the key word here. It is a great trick and use it to your advantage.
“Our greatest battle in our lives is the one between habit and knowledge!”
– Vedathiri Maharishi
I hope the tricks above will help you win in the battle.
Do share your wins in the comments below. I will be happy to hear your stories of success.