If you're on an ongoing journey of personal growth, you likely have had times when you're developing new healthy habits, whether these are related to health, fitness, productivity, relationships, etc. They say it takes 30 days to get a habit ingrained, but it's not set in stone. Easier habits can settle in more quickly, while harder ones may take a bit of massaging to make it stick. This article helps address the latter.
What Are Your "Whys"?
We all have our different reasons for wanting to establish healthy habits, and these can vary quite widely. Perhaps you're not even 100% sure why you want to develop a healthy habit other than that you read about it or you were told to do it. For example, if your goal is to make at least one meal from scratch each day, it's not enough to say "Because it's healthier." You need to dig deeper. This begs the question: "Why do you want to be healthier?" Perhaps the answer to this question is: "Because I want to lose weight." The next question then is "Why do you want to lose weight?" And your answer to this is: "Because I want to improve my rock climbing" This might seem like an end it itself, and it might be enough to keep you inline until you achieve that goal. But if you want the habit to stay on beyond the wedding, I would suggest digging deeper until you get to a why that has a longer shelf life.
Strengthening Your Whys
So when you are asked "Why do you want to be better at rock climbing?", you may have several reasons: "Because it makes me feel more confident mentally and physically. Being able to take on more challenging routes gives me a sense of accomplishment. Also, it gives me a way to bond with my partner and children as they also enjoy it."
Now let's turn this into an answer you give yourself when you're tempted to choose not to do your habit. Let's say you've finished a long day at work and you're on your way home, knowing that you still have to make your one meal from scratch for your dinner. You're feeling a little lazy, and you are tempted to pick up dinner at a fast food joint instead. This is the time to ask yourself: "Why is it important for you to make your dinner tonight?" Then you can have your scripted answers so that you don't find yourself searching. Based on the answers that were given above, they could be as simple as this:
Because I want to lose weight so I can be a better rock climber which will:
- Make me feel more confident about myself mentally and physically.
- Give me a sense of satisfaction at improving my skills.
- Help me connect more with my husband and children.
Visualizing Your Whys
Once you have your wording down, visualizing them comes next to strengthen them further. Close your eyes and get in tune with what it feels like when you experience feeling mentally and physically confident. Imagine yourself tackling a harder climbing route and making it to the top, feeling the sense of accomplishment. Open your heart to the feeling of connection that you get when you enjoy sharing the experience of climbing with your partner and children. Being able to feel the end results helps make your whys more compelling rather than a rote exercise in telling yourself through words.
The Ultimate "Why"
Every person's whys are as complex as they are varied, but in the end, the best ones, the ones that last over the long term, are ones that will make you happy. Recognizing this will help remind you that while habits can have some discomfort when you're getting started, you will be happier for it in the long run if you stick to your plan.
Now over to you. What are your "whys" for a current habit you're trying to ingrain in yourself? How might you able to develop these to strengthen your willpower? I welcome you to share in the comments as many people find it motivating to hear of other people's processes.