Have Answers to the Objections
If we have a set of common objections to forming habits, then we can pre-plan our answers instead of blindly believing the rationale we usually use.
Here are some common objections, with examples of how you might plan to answer them:
- I’m tired (or don’t feel like it). Answer: Just do a little bit of it. You don’t have to do it for very long; if you can do one minute (or write one paragraph), you can call that a win for today.
- Why should I put myself through this? Answer: This is a gift to yourself. Doing this habit is a loving way to make your life better, and always putting it off is a harmful habit. See the deliciousness of this experience!
- You deserve a break/treat. Answer: Take a break right after you do it for a minute. Or let this be your treat!
- I’ll do it in a minute (or “One won’t hurt”). Answer: You know that rationale is a lie. Don’t listen to the lies you tell yourself when tired or afraid. Instead, tell yourself that doing the habit for one minute won’t hurt. Or putting off doing something you’re trying to quit (cigarettes, for example) won’t hurt.
- This is scary/sucks because I don’t know what I’m doing. Answer: Yep, the uncertainty is scary! And yet, everything good in your life has come because you pushed into uncertainty. So see it as something to savor, this uncertainty, because it is the ground where you learn, grow, and get better. Learn to relish in it.
- This is hard, I’ll do it later. Answer: Do a small dose of the hard stuff now, then go to your favorite distraction after. Switch up the order and things get a lot better in your life.
Of course, the answers above won’t necessarily be the best ones for you, so figure out what answers work for you.
Set Up Your Environment
If having answers to your objections doesn’t work, you might set up your environment to be more conducive to forming habits successfully, when you’re feeling good and optimistic.
- Clear away distractions. Make it hard to get to them.
- Make your best option the most convenient option. Put out the healthy snacks where you can see them, and make yourself have to drive to the store to get the unhealthy stuff.
- Tell others in your house/office that you’re not going to do something (e.g not go on Facebook, not eat candy), and if they catch you doing it, you owe them $50.
- Get others to join you in a challenge.
- Put reminders or inspiration everywhere.
- Make your Instagram or Twitter feed only filled with inspiration, not distractions.
- Ask others to encourage you on your goal every time they see you.
- Set up your yoga mat, meditation cushion, writing space, or sewing area so that it’s easy to dive into your new habit.
Again, what works for one person won’t work for others, so experiment!
Find the Freedom
Some people really don’t work well with restrictions or being told they have to do something over and over. If that’s you, then find the freedom in the activity.
Why eat broccoli and kale? If you make it something your mom is telling you to do, you might hate it. But if you find the deliciousness in fresh, healthy, whole food, maybe it can seem like a wonderful choice. If you think about the freedom to be healthy, strong, fit and able to do all kinds of outdoor activities, then kale becomes a beautiful empowering leaf.
Why give up cigarettes? Instead of thinking of this as a restrictive thing, think of it as freedom from the burden of having to buy cigarettes, financial freedom, freedom from being tied to a burdensome habit for the rest of your life, freedom from getting super sick from smoking (which will absolutely suck for you and your loved ones).
Why sit down every day to write your book? Think of it as freedom from procrastination and distraction, freedom to express yourself, freedom to finally create when you’ve been running from it for so long.
Find the deliciousness, the treat, the freedom, the fun. And soon you’ll be not your own biggest obstacle, but your own biggest supporter.