You're not lazy, stupid, incapable or broken. In fact, what makes habits difficult are also what makes them work. (Image source Ivan Vranic on Unsplash)
There's plenty of articles that outline the benefits of habits. What most of them don't address, though, is the connection between those benefits and the reasons for why you've failed at solidifying habits to begin with.
The Silent Link
Creating a habit develops consistency, makes planning simpler, protects you against decision fatigue, and a host of other great stuff. Regurgitating the concept that habits are beneficial doesn't seem, well, beneficial.
You already know habits are good, otherwise you wouldn't be here.
Thing about the benefits of habits is, if you don't have the habits then you don't have the benefits (duh). BUT- then you also don't have the tools to develop them easily either. Think about it: habits improve impulse control, strengthen willpower and reduce decision fatigue. Yet all of those things stand in the way of actually developing habits.
Without impulse control, you will get distracted and break from your schedule. Without willpower, you have little to no strength to maintain the routine. Overwhelmed by decision fatigue, your ritual will seem considerably less important. Habits are the exercise that strengthens those intellectual "muscles." But if the muscles are weak, you're not going to get very far, are you?
(Re)Starting The Cycle
There's some good information out there on developing habits, and some of it may apply to some degree. Like bombchelle's Planning Pitfalls, Humor Home Making's Cannot Stick To A Schedule, or Life Habit's 6 Proven Ways To Make Habits Stick. There's good stuff in there, and it is probably helpful. But I've found that most habit advice assumes you can just force yourself to act as if you've got the tools to start with. It's not completely false, but at the same time it may be on the other side of a huge chasm from where you actually are.
I'm no expert at habits or success, but I AM a master of starting over. Going back to the beginning is something of a, well, habit for me. And every time I start again, it always feels like I'm back at zero.
Wanna know a secret though? You're only at true zero once. Doesn't feel that way, does it? The most success I've had came from beginning with the past. Acknowledging the heights I've reached in times before, and choosing from those to try again.
My websites are an example of this- though I may be an internet embarrassment, my consistency is in coming back when I've hit "zero" again. I've had routines that built off one another as well: wake up, make tea, exercise, meditate (with the tea), move on with the day. Recognizing that I was able to do that more or less daily for more than three months reminds me I'm not only above zero this time around, but there's a habit I can start from and build on again.
Try that and see if it helps bridge the gap between your current position and the help you find everywhere else. Comment your results below, let me know if it helps!
Tomorrow at 9a, I'll introduce you to a couple of experts highly recognized for their wisdom on the matter. See you then!
As I begin this anew, I know only one thing: that I know nothing. Learn with me, and together we will figure this out.
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.