Did you have big goals for the new year? Have you already thrown in the towel?
I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was doing this 100 pushup challenge.
I’m not gonna lie.
I hit the wall last week. I couldn’t get to the next level. Which means, now I have to repeat last week’s schedule. Which kinda sucks because, well, I’m bored with it now.
Sure, doing push-ups (or ‘eating healthy’ or ‘working out’ or ‘drinking green drinks’ or insert whatever healthy activity you set up for yourself in the new year) is exciting for a few weeks, but after about 4 weeks – you get bored, distracted, ready for something new.
The push up challenge was originally supposed to be 6 weeks and now I’m repeating week 4, which means at least 7 weeks instead of 6. That’s not what I bargained for when I started.
Have you ever felt that way?
You set yourself up with a goal and then when it can’t be achieved on schedule, you get disappointed and just want to give up?
Here’s a little two-step trick for you…
First, just know that it’s perfectly normal. The fact is you can ‘willpower’ your way into any activity for a while. But eventually willpower will be exhausted. (Sure, you can develop your willpower with practice, much like a muscle, but it will still eventually give out.) So, rather than relying on willpower, it’s better to focus on creating a habit that supports your goal.
Step 1: The Habit Maker
The first few weeks I could rely on my excitement alone to get my push ups done. It was fun to challenge myself. But, after four weeks, if my goal is to finish this push-up challenge, I can’t rely on my willpower alone to finish this thing. I have to create a habit around my pushup schedule.
So, I’ve created a fixed time and a trigger. My cell phone alarm goes off at the same time every Monday, Wednesday & Friday to ensure I get my pushups done. Establishing a habit makes it easier to get to my goal.
Step 2: The Do Over
What I have found over time is that any time you work on a challenge…it tends to cave and fall apart after 30 days. So, what really works for me is to press the restart button at the 30-day mark. I just ‘start over’ after 30 days.
Something about the freedom of a ‘fresh start’ inspires me to try again. After all, I was successful the first 30 days. So, I can be successful the second 30 days – if I start over.
See what I’m saying? Try it.
If you’re stuck with a goal you set up for yourself, take these two steps:
- Establish a time & trigger for the practice you are trying to implement so you can create a habit that doesn’t rely on willpower.
- In the meantime, while you are relying on willpower, press the ‘do over’ button more frequently. If you made it 14 days, you just proved you can last 14 days. So, do another 14 days. If that number was 7 days, then go for another 7, then another 7. Make a game of it. See how many times you can do 7 days. Or try to go one day longer next time. Whatever it takes…you just need enough of a game to keep you going until your habit kicks in.
If you use this ‘do over’ strategy over and over again – one day you will wake up and realize you just created a new habit that is so automatic, you don’t even have to think about it. And, your goal is closer than ever.