One of the dominant themes in the month of January is change. We get fired up about eating healthy, exercising, losing weight, getting organized, and more. At the beginning of the month, our emotions are “on board,” and we are excited about making things happen. Unfortunately, it is very hard to sustain any emotion over time, even a good one. Our feelings are impacted by circumstances, and often our good intentions go out the window when the adrenaline rush of the new year abates.
Today’s quote helps us understand how to make true, lasting change in our lives. “Over time, as the daily routines become second nature, discipline morphs into habit.” ~ Twila Tharp. The secret to making sustainable change isn’t emotions, but rather an alteration in our daily routine.
It takes discipline to begin a new routine. I understand that it can be very challenging, and I am a big supporter of putting tools into place to help when beginning a new routine. At the same time, I know that human beings are highly adaptable. Over time, what begins only with mindful intention and accountability eventually becomes standard operating procedure.
Think about when you take a shower. You probably go through the same sequence of events in the same order, day after day, without much thought. You have a habit for taking a shower. When you were young and first took a shower, you had to think consciously about all of the steps (where do I put the soap, how do I turn on the faucet, when do I wash my hair vs. my body, etc.). However, it didn’t take long for you to get into a routine, and now you probably use shower time to think about other things.
Once a discipline has become a habit, you are a winner! Habits are powerful, and they keep chugging along with little focus required by us. It is wise to establish good habits, because it frees us from having to repeatedly wrestle with deciding whether or not to do “the right thing.” When we have formed a habit, we just do it.
Today I challenge you to think about what good habits you have formed. How did they get started? Is there a new habit you would like to establish? If so, decide how you can make this part of your daily routine. Once you have a plan, find someone to help hold you accountable as you work on moving this from an idea to an established routine and finally into a habit. Plan on investing a concentrated three months into making this happen, and focus on only adding only one new habit at a time.
What habit do you want to develop this year?