Eating healthy or exercising regularly is not an easy habit to get into. After a few days of effort most concede that healthier lifestyle is not sustainable for them. I can tell you this because I also go through it whenever I change my diet or gym timings / frequency.
The sad part is that every time we fail to stick to a routine, our ego takes a beating. We think we lack enough ‘Will Power’ to continue making healthy choices every day.
How can you then adapt to the changes and turn your new habits into routine tasks?
New habits or change require a lot of effort of Will Power. But routine tasks don’t tax the brain too much. You just do them. But adapting to new routines need not be so difficult though. The problem is we don’t understand this thing called ‘will power’ and so can never use it to our full benefit.
The Empowering Concept of Will Power
Having gone through the highs and lows of establishing my healthy routines over the last few years, I want to share with you some of my learnings about Will Power. This new way of thinking about will-power will help you next time you try to stick to a new healthier habit. Here goes:
- Think of ‘Will Power’ to be like Money. Every little thing you do in the day, whether out of habit or conscious effort, requires you to spend this so called ‘Will Power’ cash or WP cash.Your routine tasks are cheap and you don’t require much WP to complete them, like brushing your teeth in the morning – Cheap!BUT when it comes to acquiring good habits, these things are expensive! So pricey that they exhaust your WP cash for the rest of the day. Think about when you are trying to get up early to go to the gym. You don’t just get out of bed, brush your teeth, change into gym gear and get out the door! You spend 5-10 mins in bed thinking about if you should even go that day. Correct? This back and forth in the brain drains your WP cash.
- Now the other thing about WP, is that like Money, it is a limited resource which besides spending you can also earn or ‘grow’.
> Nature and God are like our Mother and Father. As our parents, they give us some WP cash as ‘pocket money’ every day. This is in exchange for some minimum discipline which comes in the form of restful sleep at night.The amount of WP Cash you receive is the same as the previous day unless you show them that you can put the WP cash to good use.
So, restful sleep at night – recharges your body wallet to the same amount of WP cash as you had the previous day. Every morning you have a wallet full of Will Power. But if you have a recharge of say $5 worth every night, but the good habit you wish to acquire is worth $50, what do you do?
> Just like cash sitting in your wallet is useless, similarly WP cash needs to be put to ‘use’ to see it growing!
Set aside a little bit of your WP cash to spend on acquiring good habits. Now, when you put your Will Power to work, use as much of it as you can everyday. But know your limits and don’t overextend yourself. Else you might fall into WP debt which will suck the WP available to you the following morning!
How I Accrued WP Credits To Change My Routine
Very recently, I have put my WP cash growing ability to use. For the last few months I was not able to find time for 45 minutes of meditation. Even though I was making progress in all aspects of my life, setting aside 45 minutes seemed impossible. There was always a mail I had to reply to, or an article I had to read, or something I had to check online. My day was packed so much so that taking 45 minutes to sit quietly in meditation every day seemed ‘unsustainable’.
Then I decided to slowly grow my WP cash. I set aside a time in the day and decided that I need to meditate for only 10 minutes. Fast forward 3 weeks, now I meditate 45 mins in the morning and 15-20 mins before going to sleep. This is still new to me but with the progress I am making, checking my facebook or watching tv is now not a priority. Based on my previous experiments, I am positively hopeful that this change will soon be a part of my routine.
What You Should Do?
Visualise yourself as full of Will Power every morning. Set small tasks for yourself everyday which will slowly make your larger dream a reality. Hold these tasks sacrosanct and accept no excuses. If you don’t go to the gym, find 10 minutes time to do a physical exercise everyday. Make this as routine as brushing your teeth. Don’t think about IF you should do it. The moment it is time, just do what you need to do for those 10 minutes. From here, you need to progress. Do something that challenges you. For example, increase your speed or add more skill to your yoga practice (more advanced asanas), etc.
Ensure Daily practice. Take small steps every day and one day you will look back and you would have completely transformed yourself.