Five Habits for the Next Five Years
2020 was an atypical year for everyone, in particular related to motivation. At the beginning of the pandemics, I tried to achieve some goals, like reading or training more. After a few days, as you can imagine, I gave up on achieving those goals. But these dropouts didn't happen only in the last year. Over the years, I always had a massive list of projects that I started but couldn't finish.
The difference between 2020 and the other years was that I questioned myself, "Why do I always give up on my projects before I finish them?". The answer, for me, is: it's because I relied only on motivation. Motivation is excellent initially but requires a tremendous amount of energy to keep us doing what we want to do. It leads us to perform great things but lasts for a few days.
Motivation is hard. We are lazy, and we keep doing things that don't spend much energy. Technologies know this and automate everything to make us spend even less energy. Netflix, for instance, plays the next episode, and we need to keep our eyes open - we don't spend energy - and because of this, watching a Netflix series is very addictive.
How can I overcome the motivation problem? The answer I found was: habits. Habits are the less spent energy strategy that we can use to achieve goals in our life. Habits require more time to complete the objectives, require more consistency, but it lasts forever. When we create a habit, we do the task naturally, and the spent energy is much lower than motivation.
I started studying habits by reading Atomic Habits. I can assure you: this book was one of the best books I've read in my life. It changed my life. It's a practical guide on how to create good habits and break bad ones. It explains the feedback loop that involves four steps:
- make it obvious;
- make it attractive;
- make it easy;
- make it satisfying.
Once we understand this loop and know how to use the steps in our favor, it becomes easier to create good habits and break bad ones.
The next book I want to read is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and the after is The Power of Habit. I'm enjoying studying habits, it's a fascinating subject. However, I'm not only learning. Further, I'm creating some in my life (good ones).
While reading Atomic Habits, I've decided to create five habits in my life:
- wake up early;
- exercise every two or three days;
- meditate every day;
- read every day;
- write every day.
I'm starting slowly. First, I started with exercises. After waking up, meditate, read, and write. I didn't start with these five together because it requires a significant amount of motivation. I prefer starting small, one at a time.
I've also decided to practice these habits for the next five years because I want to see what will happen to my life, but I don't want to stop after these years.
It's been about eight months that I'm on this habit journey. It was not so easy. When I was practicing only one habit, doing exercises, it was easy to keep it up. Once I added one more, the challenge to keep them up increases, and so on. Currently, in January 2021, I manage three: exercises, meditating and reading every day. Slowly I'm adding the write every day.
I'm having fun on this adventure. In parts, because my life and lifestyle improved so much, I'm not feeling that sensation of starting something and giving up after some days.
If you want to create good habits in your life, I do suggest reading those books and keep in mind one thing: instead of thinking you're doing something (exterior), consider you are a practicer (interior). For instance, instead of thinking you have a training routine (exterior), believe you're an athlete (interior), and the training routines will come because you're an athlete.