Live Better: Work Better: Feel Better: The Top 5 Things Getting in Your Way of Building Great Habits
Sometimes, knowing ‘how’ to do something like building habits isn’t enough.
Sometimes, we may know how to best achieve our goals, but still struggle to accomplish them.
We’ve all been there, and it’s incredibly discouraging.
So how do we get past the low points? The discouragement? The lack of motivation?
Usually, the problem isn’t that you don’t have self-discipline or enough willpower, it’s that there are TOO many barriers in your way. If you address these TOP FIVE barriers, you’ll pave the way to success:
Barrier #1: You started TOO BIG.
Let’s say you really want to workout for 30 minutes every day. You get up on Day #1, workout for 30 minutes, and feel GREAT about yourself.
Then the next day comes along, and you do the same thing.
YAY. You’re still feeling great!
Then, the third day comes along and you wake up grumpy.
You’re feeling sore, fatigued, sleepy, and simply don’t want to workout for 30 minutes.
On a bad day, working out for 30 minutes is a TALL order. So you don’t.
The next day is similar, and you don’t meet your goal.
Now, feelings of failure settle in and you feel discouraged and unmotivated, which in turn doesn’t help you to workout.
So what is the problem here?
Your 30-minute workout goal works great on a good day, but it’s too large of an ambition on a bad day. Your goal was too big.
Key Take-away: To succeed at building a habit, you need to make your goal SO ACHIEVABLE that you could do it on a BAD DAY.
Barrier #2: You didn’t do it enough times.
Repetition is KING, remember?
We live in a culture that is hooked on immediate gratification. We want results NOW.
But as we all know, feelings of success come after a period of time and consistent work.
We may want to lose 20 pounds right now, but ALL diets and solutions that offer quick fixes never lead to long-term results. You might lose 5 pounds going on a water diet, but that 5 pounds is going to come right back after you start eating again.
Key Take-away: To achieve your goals, you need to repeat your habit over and over again until it becomes second nature.
Time, patience, and practice are your friends.
Barrier #3: You’re too focused on the goal rather than the process.
Let’s say you really want to get that bonus this year by doing five extra projects before now and the end of the quarter. That extra cash would be SO nice! You could buy that new sound system you wanted for two months!
Months pass, and it’s two weeks before all five extra projects are due.
You’ve barely started.
The end of the year finally makes it to today, and you only have three extra projects to turn in, even though you worked hard and barely slept for two weeks.
Unfortunately, you don’t get the bonus.
What went wrong here?
The goal of getting that bonus was a nice dream, but there was no process in place to make it happen. There was no daily or weekly rhythm to your goal that would get you to work on it on a regular and consistent basis.
Key Take-away: If you want to accomplish your goals, you need to focus on PROCESS.
Setting yourself up for success has everything to do with WHEN, WHERE, and HOW you decide to accomplish a goal.
Barrier #4: Your environment sucks.
Let’s say you want to do focused work in a room where your child is asking something from you every five minutes. Chances are you probably won’t do focused work.
Let’s say you want to stop smoking, but your partner habitually chain smokes in the house. Chances are you probably won’t stop smoking.
Let’s say you want to be more of a morning person, but all your friends encourage you to stay up late into the night hanging out. Chances are you probably won’t be a morning person.
Human beings are creatures of our environment. We are influenced by what is available.
If our environment isn’t conducive to our goals, no amount of willpower is going to motivate us to build the habits we want.
Key Take-away: If you want to accomplish your goals, you need to set up your environment to support you.
Barrier #5: Your mindset is less than ideal.
Let’s say you want to get better at building good habits.
Habit’s that support you in your life like drinking more water, meditating more frequently, or being nice to people even when you’re in a bad mood.
If you believe you CAN’T do these things, that you CAN’T choose your behavior, or you CAN’T have a positive effect on your situation, then you WON’T.
Sure, there are situations outside of your control, but if you believe you CAN affect the things within your control, then you WILL.
Key Take-away: If you want to accomplish your goals, you need to BELIEVE in the qualities and values that support them.
Let’s Shape Up: Why Basecamp’s Shape Up Method is the BEST way to produce Value
If you’ve ever heard of sprints, or scrum, Shape Up is an alternative methodology to project management. Essentially, Shape Up helps teams deliver more effectively by offering a process framework that brings in the whole team: both managers and developers alike.
Immutability means something cannot be changed. You might want this to make sure you’re preserving a value.
For example, if you’re having multiple functions input the same value, but the value can potentially change between the function's operations, you’ll want to ensure the original value isn’t accidentally getting overwritten somewhere in the process.
Here are three ways you can ensure immutability.
Looping is one of the first things you learn as a programmer. It’s not just “for” and “while” loops. You’ve got more options for looping than you’ll probably want to know about.
Let’s take a look.