We all know good habits lead to big results — specifically the results we want.
If we work out consistently, we will lose weight.
If we wake up early every morning, we will get more things done.
If we fill our plates with veggies instead of greasy fries, our bodies will be healthier.
If we know what it takes to improve who we want to be, then why do 92% of us fail?
It’s simply because:
We often feel overwhelmed by the amount of discipline that’s required to keep up with good habits. It makes us not want to start at all, or to completely abandon all progress when we lose ourselves to temptation, social pressure, laziness and unexpected disasters.
It’s the discipline most of us lack.
Luckily, I discovered a way to kickstart my own discipline towards maintaining good habits, and that’s to encourage myself every step of the way. Some of these steps might sound obvious already, but if you give it your all, you’ll see results sooner.
1. Follow a role model
Anyone who constantly strives to improve themselves will tell you one thing — have a good role model in your life.
Role models teach you what has worked for their success, where they’ve failed miserably and what they’ve learned from their past experiences. They show you a new perspective as you try to solve your problems, which makes you think, “if they can do it, so can I.”
My role model is Alexis Ren. She’s an American model and internet celebrity who shows a rare kind of confidence. One that’s very natural and doesn’t brag. You can see it through her Instagram photos & videos. How she expresses herself is what wins her a lot of respect, which is something I wish to learn.
She’s the starting point of my dreams, and someone I can always look up to when I’m struggling through the pain.
When you have good role models, who have the courage and discipline to do what you want to do, follow their work. This will at least give you a vision of where you want to be.
2. Start small
“It’s easier to walk one step than it is to run a thousand steps.”
Often times, we throw ourselves a task that’s so ambitious, we destroy every ounce of motivation we have.
Don’t. Instead, make your task stupid simple to do.
Instead of eliminating cookies from your diet, let yourself to 1 every week.
Instead of learning a whole phrase in a foreign language, learn 1 word.
Instead of spending 1 hour at the gym, spend 10 minutes.
Sometimes the smallest accomplishments can bring you the greatest feeling — that you’ve done what you needed to do — to give you the motivation you need to continue on.
3. Reward yourself
Whenever you accomplish your task, reward yourself with a small treat: a new book, 30 minutes of your favorite TV show, a cup of coffee, whatever makes you feel great.
This will instantly trigger your brain to elicit positive emotions, which brings you to the realization that your efforts result in positive rewards. The more you reward yourself for completing a task, the more enjoyable that task will be.
Keep in mind though to give yourself the right reward — one that reinforces your good behavior along the way (e.g. buying a new song for your workout) instead of one that conflicts with your goal (e.g. treating yourself to a buffet after a workout).
4. If you break your habit, jump back into it IMMEDIATELY
At one point, we all screw up. We lose focus. We lose control to our emotions. We tell ourselves, “perhaps tomorrow.”
Things happen, and that’s okay.
Instead of feeling disappointed and thinking you’re a complete failure, get back into your habit as soon as possible. Missing a day is easier to recuperate your losses, but a week? A month?
You save more effort by getting back on track than you do by starting from scratch.
Take the shorter route — finish what you need to do. Eventually, if you keep pushing yourself to bounce back from your failures, you’ll become who you’ve always wanted to be.