Motivation vs Habits

We all need some inspiration or motivation to fulfil our dreams. In the moment of excitement we decide to go to any limit to achieve what we desire. We read books, attend conference, see some live examples of change and we charged up to take control of our life and want to change the way things are going on. After some days we are again back to zero. We become the same couch potato and forget about losing weight. So how can we keep our motivation to change and get what we want?

I have learned that how much we try, we tend to lose that motivation we had in the beginning of our journey of change. No speaker or author can keep you motivated for your entire life. They can only help you find the moment in which you make the life changing decision, the moment which can become the turning point and the moment which can shape your entire life. But what next? Do we have ability to take that moment to the next level? Can we really stay motivated for a long time untill we achieve what we have chosen? The answer is, we don’t need to.

The simple solution to above situation is to create daily habits. It is a fact that if something becomes part of our routine life, then we don’t need motivation to do it daily. Let’s take the example of brushing your teeth. You might get surprise, but brushing was not part of daily life hundred years back. Do you think you need motivation to brush your teeth every morning? It is a habit we have created from childhood that after we get up, we go to bathroom to brush. Similarly we can create habit for other part of life as well. We just need to take care of two factors, Trigger and reward.

In this article we will take up the example of weight loss as that is the favourite topic of most of us and that is the major requirement in today’s life. We all must have read some books on losing weight or have seen some live example where one fat guy turned in to lean and fit person. We decide that we want to become like him without analysing what really took him to reach there. We are fully motivated. We subscribe to gym, we buy packets of green tea, and we give up chocolates and many more things to avoid adding any extra fat to our body. This is really good, but unfortunately this does not last long. What we need is converting goals into habits and making part of our daily life instead of few exciting moments.

There is a really good book on habit called “The power of habit”. The author Charles Duhigg says that all we need is trigger and reward. By giving the example of brushing, he mentioned that trigger is as soon as we get up and reward is the tingling sensation we get while brushing. We can take the help of it to achieve what we need. Let’s find out the trigger and reward for weight loss.

Trigger – It is something which will force you to take the action. A trigger is an event that will kick off that automatic urge to do a habit. For example, smokers have a number of triggers. After having food they want to smoke. This is part of their daily life. This can be used for positive habits too. Waking up can trigger habits such as brushing your teeth, going running, or anything you want. All you need is to create a strong connection between trigger and habit. As we are talking about weight loss, one of the habit we would like to create is doing exercise. If you do exercise as soon as you finished brushing for some days (let’s say 20 days), then this will become part of your routine life. Your mind will be on auto pilot and you would start exercising as soon as you finished brushing.

Reward – As name suggest it is something that we get if we take the action. Some theories says that most of our actions are co-related to what we get in return. We eat delicious food because we like the taste that comes while eating. Most of our habits are created in childhood through this mechanism. Like my parents used to tell me that if I go to sleep early, then they would take me to park next day. Similarly we can find out the reward for, let’s say exercise. One of the good reward I found was the freshness I feel post exercise. You can also look for some external reward, like you can have a healthy smoothie post workout.

Many problems in life can be solved by understanding the mystery of mind as mentioned above. You can use the positive habits to change almost all areas of your life. If you notice that 90% of the things we do, are part of our habits we have created. Form more positive habits and make your life better.

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