It is safe to say that everyone has been there before — waking up one random day feeling extremely motivated. Suddenly, you have the urge to get out and do something other than binge Netflix all day (no shame in that), however, you end up stuck not knowing where to start. Or, it’s the other way around when you do too much in that one day, tiring yourself out. There’s no need to wonder what’s wrong. It happens to everyone.
Doing things like working out, reading or even taking notes for your summer classes can seem just as hard like cleaning out a room of endless junk. However, there are a few tips that could help you start liking and creating a habit of doing these “boring” or “hard” activities.
1. Combine a new habit with a pre-existing routine
Joey Schweitzer, the creator of Youtube channel Better Ideas, makes a ton of self-improvement videos. “How I tricked my brain to like doing hard things,” talks about the importance of integrating a new habit into your old routine.
Schweitzer uses the example of wanting to start daily reading and drinking coffee in the morning. These two activities go together well, so if you place the book you want to read by your coffee machine, it’s easier to create a routine and remember to read. This is a simple way to trick your brain into associating a simple activity with one that you are trying to consistently do.
2. Give yourself an internal pep talk
Sounds ridiculous (or absolutely insane!) but talking yourself up can be a good motivator. Schweitzer mentions how it may depend on your personality and interests. For example, if you consider yourself artistic and you enjoy painting, you feel motivated to do that activity.
Same goes for any other activity. If you tell yourself you’re an active person, you will be more motivated to go to the gym because that is what active people do. On the other hand, if you constantly tell yourself that you are lazy or you are not fit enough, your actions will reflect those of people who are lazy. By changing your mindset towards a certain activity and yourself, you will start seeing that activity as something you enjoy, rather than a chore.
3. Start small
It can be exhilarating to start new things, especially habits that could potentially transform your life. However, no matter how motivated and passionate you may feel about certain activities, it’s crucial to start small. This is emphasized so that you don’t get too worn out by doing too much at once and you don’t feel discouraged.
Start out with one activity or habit that you want to do consistently. Then, once you feel like you’ve established a routine or it becomes easier for you to do, you can begin a new habit/challenge!
4. Set weekly goals
It can be extremely discouraging if large set goals are met with slow progress. By setting a small goal each week, you are able to track your progress and assess for the following week. For example, you set a goal to work out three times that week. If you only do it twice that week, at the end of the week, check-in with yourself.
Why aren’t you completing your goal? Is it too drastic or are you finding it challenging? What do you need to adjust to achieve your goal next week? These questions will help you stay motivated because you will be able to accomplish a goal each week if you’re successful.
While it is important to continue these methods to make these activities easier, some goals take time and adjustments. Checking in with your goal each week can establish what is realistic for you and your lifestyle.
Creating new habits, specifically ones that aren’t too glamorous, can be daunting. It’s much easier to push off tasks than finding the time to do those things. With these few tips, you can start creating a better relationship with beneficial activities such as reading or going for a walk. Hopefully, by the time you create a habit, your activity becomes something you crave, not dread.
If you are interested in learning more about creating habits, check out the book “The Power of Habit”, by Charles Duhigg. You can find it on Amazon.