Day 14… More on Motivation and New Habits…
When I started this project, I’d said I applied success and fulfillment practices about 5 to 10%. 5% or less is actually more accurate if one takes into account the swaths of time I didn’t do much of anything. My goal here was to take on success techniques 100% every day for a year. I’d say I’m at about 20% right now. Here I find myself at an important place to consider self-shaming and the habit of success.
I could look at that 20% two different ways. I could say, “Wow, I’m 80% off my goal. What a failure.” Or I could say, “Man, I’m doing so well, I’m doing 2-4 times more than I was before.” I choose the second. I’ve intentionally only ramped up to 20%. In the past, when I’ve taken on a self improvement kick, I’d go all out. I’d write down schedules for the entire day, and I’d get up early and start ‘working’ on meditation, yoga, gratitude, metta, writing, mantras, etc. etc. But, within a few days, I’d wake up completely depressed and struggling to even get out of bed. When I did get going, I’d sit around in a haze and get nowhere.
The core of this failure is the motivation gas tank. I’d start off energized and take down a full day. The next day, a little more tired, I’d maybe get 85%... then 75% on day three. Can you feel the collapse coming? On day four, I’d pull 65%. That night the self-loathing would ignight and burn me down. Why had I watched Star Trek or played games on my phone instead of meditating and stretching out at night by candlelight to help myself sleep? What a loser. I can’t even get a week in! Yet, I was shaming myself for a weakness that don’t exist in ME, they exist in EVERYONE.
Here’s something critical… People are successful and fulfilled because they take certain very specific actions on a daily basis. Those people either grew up with those actions as part of their daily habitual life or built those habits up one at a time over years. No one is an overnight success… EVER… at least not anyone who’s success has any kind of staying power.
When we try to be like successful people, taking on the things they do, we get mired in so many new tasks, we fall apart under the strain of the brain’s consumption of limited resources in our body. We run out of motivation. The secret to change then? Write out the activities we want to take part in daily, pick one or two, and do those for 21-90 days. When we’ve consistently performed them for that time and are no longer missing days, (at least very rarely) and it feels like the activity is part of our life, then add another task.
Success is an evolution from unhealthy to healthy NOT a revolution.