The EASIEST way to achieve any goal is to make action a habit. Taking daily action on your goal is weird and unfamiliar at first, and you might be tempted to skip a day or a month if you come up against an obstacle. But if you’re diligent about daily action for about a month or two, you will have created a habit of action that will make you unstoppable.
How do you create a habit? Persistent repetition.
Okay… but how do you make yourself do something until it becomes a habit?
Find a way to keep doing it! Find a way to START, every single day. Create a habit of starting.
Starting might mean opening up your journal and writing your short list of goals. It means reading a page in your textbook, not a whole chapter. It means dialing the first number on your list, not making the commitment to call every person on it. Create a habit of starting: a push in the beginning of each day to get the momentum rolling.
So what happens when you just don’t feel like doing it?
First, let’s identify why you might be facing resistance to taking action:
● You’re comfortable, and the action is uncomfortable or difficult.
● You’re not afraid, and the action is scary (because it’s uncomfortable or difficult).
Here are ways to make a habit of action MORE comfortable than a habit of not taking action:
● Prepare yourself. Lay out the necessary equipment beforehand. Then, your resources are right there and the excuses of having to find something will vanish.
● Break your actions into their smallest, easiest components. It’s easier to commit to reading one page than a chapter. Tell yourself, “I’ll just do this one little thing and then I can get back to something else.” Changes are great that once you get rolling, you’ll keep rolling. Rollling is easy once you start!
● Talk about it. The more people you tell about your goal, the more uncomfortable it is to NOT take action because you’ll risk having to explain why you’re not moving forward!
● Reward yourself. For example, if you start the day off with a cup of coffee, DO NOT have that coffee until you have accomplished some small task. Reward yourself with the coffee after you’re done.
Make it as easy as possible to start, and hard to not start. Just for 30-60 days, or until you wake up one morning and you automatically take action on your goal. Then you’ll know that you have created the daily action habit.
Inspired by Leo Babauta’s blog on www.zenhabits.com