Episode #2 of the course Building routines and habits by Jenn Schilling
Before you begin creating a habit or routine, it is important to figure out why you want to develop and repeat a certain behavior. Starting a new habit or routine will not work unless you do it with intention. When considering a new habit or routine, you may be influenced by other people’s activities, which can be a good place to get ideas for new behavior. However, in the end, it does not matter what other people are doing or thinking, it only matters what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
It’s also important to remember that beginning a new habit or routine is not about willpower, self-control, discipline, or having the most motivation. It’s about finding your own reason for doing something and figuring out how and why it’s going to fit into your life.
To begin this process, start thinking about your values and what matters to you. Why do you want to create this habit or routine? Make sure you’re completely honest with yourself—what is going to work for you?
This may seem like a lot to start with, but it is important to have an intention in order to develop a sustainable habit. Building a new habit or routine takes effort. After enough repetition and consistency, the behavior you’re building will become less effortful, but, especially at the beginning, it will be challenging, so it is important to develop a clear intention for this new activity.
We will start a new habit with a super small change (more on this in an upcoming lesson), but it is important to think of the long-term view when intention setting. Is this something that you will be able to maintain for the long-term? Is it something you want to maintain for the long-term? As I said before, building a habit takes effort, so you want to make sure it is something that aligns with your values and fits into your long-term goals.
Let’s dive into a concrete example of this. Say I want to build an exercise routine. First, I need to figure out why I want to do this and how it fits in with my values and long-term goals. I want to create an exercise routine so I can build strength and feel healthy. I value movement, strength, and longevity. One of my long-term goals is to stay fit and healthy as I grow older, so creating an exercise routine now will help me do that. I can also see myself maintaining an exercise routine for the long-term, but I will need to make sure that I pick a form of exercise that I enjoy and can keep up. An important thing to note is that weight loss did not come up in my examination of my values and motivation for exercising, so it will probably be best for me to find a fitness program that is more aligned with strength building or general fitness than weight loss so that it aligns with my values and intentions, which will make it easier for me to begin and maintain this exercise routine.
To sum up, my long-term goal is to maintain health, fitness, and wellness as I age, and I value movement and strength, so my intention with my new exercise routine is to find and practice a fitness program that focuses on long-term fitness and strength building. Now that I understand this intention, I will be better able to find a practice that works for me. In addition, by spelling out my intention, values, and long-term goal, I know why I am creating this new routine. And I can come back to this as motivation when I’m getting into my new routine.
To apply this in your life, think about why you want to build a new habit or routine. What are your values? How does this new behavior align with your values and long-term goals? Create a statement of your intention to help align the behavior with your motivation for it. Find something that works for you; don’t worry about what others are doing or why they’re doing it.
In the next lesson, we will explore the mindset, which is another important thing to consider as you develop a new habit or routine.
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
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