"I don't feel like it today". How we kill off our good habits bit by bit.

We are what we repeatedly do - Aristotle

My previous post dealt with BIG obstacles to new habits. But the small obstacles are no less problematic. From time to time these small obstacles will tempt you to undo the good work. That is just what we humans are like. At these times we need to find ways to resist the temptation and keep up the good work.

I started doing Julia Cameron's morning pages about two years ago and I have found it to be a source of enormous strength, insight and inspiration. Even so, I wake up some mornings and....

 "I just don't feel like doing it today."

Has that happened to you?

You start a diet, take up swimming or learning the piano. Initially the excitement of the new carries you along. With some luck or application you would have established a regular habit by the time the novelty wears off. But then at some point you have a late night or an early morning or a busy day and you think that you 'might just skip today. I'll get back to it tomorrow.' Sound familiar?

The problem with these days is that we undo our hard-fought new habit.

You have done all the hard work of establishing something new in your full routine. Now you start undoing it because your willful heart doesn't 'feel like it'. Another problem is that once you skip once, it is much easier to skip the next day and soon that becomes a week and a month - that way lies shattered dreams.

Some tips

One trick that I have used with some success on days like these, is to do a minimum at least, however little. I normally write morning pages for 20 minutes. When I don't have time for that, I do what I can. So if I don't have 20 minutes, I do 5 or 10, just to keep things going.

A technique that many others, like pro cyclist Greg Lemond have used, is to at least make a start. When he didn't feel like training, he would tell himself that he would ride for at least 15 minutes. If after that he still didn't feel like training, he would give himself permission to quit. As an afterthought he mentions that after 15 minutes he normally didn't feel like quitting anymore and would do the full training ride. Funny that, hey?

Does any of this sound familiar? Which ways have you found to keep going?

We are not machines and obviously we need a break from routine at times. But I am not talking about those times! I am talking about those days when we suddenly just don't feel like it. At those times we need to find ways these silly impulses and keep going.


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