What has made my new habits more sustainable is by making them simple and easy. I have gotten back into the habit of doing yoga. What had made me stop is because I made it too difficult for myself to maintain the habit by making the habit to restrict time wise. I wanted to do 30 minute sessions each time, but that was too much for me, so I have now cut it down to 10 minutes, or I just do what I can. By doing this it has made the habit more sustainable. I was only motivated to do the 30 minute sessions once a week, but by cutting it down I have been motivated to do it more times in a week, allowing my total minutes a week go up, so a win there. Small steps creates bigger outcomes.
I also stopped trying to read books by chapter, and just read what I can. I realized I would face resistance if I felt the need to read a chapter a day, but by just reading what I can creates a space and freedom to read more often. By just making the habit simple and less restrictive, instead of doing more than you can handle, allows me to continue to do the habit. Putting a time limit on a habit creates resistance, instead just do what you can. 1-3 pages a day is better than not reading at all. One page is still getting the reading you want done. This also goes with coloring for me. I simply do what I can. It allows me to enjoy the hobby more, and repeat the practice. I color for as long as I want, rather than try to finish a whole page.
You may not feel like doing something for a certain period of time one day, so try not to put a time constraint on the habit. Just make the intention to do what you can. Make it simple, easy, and less restrictive. The habit to do it more often than not will become easier.
My habit of meditating hasn’t been consistent, because once again, time constraint was put into it. Now I just sit and see where it goes. If I do it for one minute, that is meditating, if 10 minutes, I meditated. Going with the flow has helped the habit to stick, rather than forcing myself to do 10 minute sessions.
After awhile these habits do get harder to maintain daily. I have been practicing Spanish and Korean. At first, I enjoyed practicing everyday, but that eventually died down. I recognized 3 things that stop us from continuing a new practice/habit. The 1st is excitement dies down. When you first start a habit, the excitement of something novel keeps us motivated to do the habit, but as the habit gets repeated the novelty and excitement dies down, so you lose that motivation to continue. The 2nd is things are not progressing as fast as you like. We tend to want quick results, so if we don’t see it. We give up. I started losing motivation, because I wasn’t learning fast enough. The 3rd is the habit isn’t as easy to do. Now that the excitement is gone. I realize learning a new language isn’t quite easy.
These three things create resistance, which pushes us to stop. Although, I did give up for a bit. I realized these three things, and asked myself if this is really what I wanted to do, did I want to keep learning, the answer was yes, so that pushed me to keep at it. This goes for any habits of mine that I want to continue. The important thing is if this is something you really want to do. I just need to remind myself that things won’t be as easy and go as quickly as I want, but the more I practice the easier it gets, and the more fluent I will get. As I continue I am understanding the language more and more. It is also important to give yourself the opportunity to take days off.
I don’t feel like learning everyday, so I don’t learn. Things are not lost if you have a day off, or two. Because I know the importance of learning. I always find my way back. I think we get stuck with having to do it everyday, but that isn’t reality. I am not always in the mood to do a certain habit that I want everyday, and that is okay. I know I will get back to doing it, because I know it is something I want to do. I haven’t done yoga in a week, but this week I am feeling it, so will get back to doing it again. It comes and goes. You get back on it. Completely giving up on something you want to do to better yourself won’t help you in the long run, and will create guilt and misery. This is why making habits simple, easy, and less restrictive is so important.