Those who “Habit” and Those Who Have Not (Done it Yet)

I recently watched a free online conference for moms with about 15- 20 different speakers, and I was surprised by how some of the same themes kept coming up from different presenters talking about totally different subjects. The idea that I have been chewing on for a week now pertains to habits. In seminars on subjects ranging from willpower and self-care to cleaning and decluttering, I heard the same idea mentioned over and over…

You can set goals for yourself. You can start cleaning X, Y, and Z every day. You can start working out. You can start making healthier choices. You can start spending time with God consistently. But all of those things take willpower to consciously decide to do them every time. And what I learned from one of the speakers is that your willpower is like a tank. It gets depleted every time you have to use it to make a good choice. And it needs to be replenished when its running low, by things like Prayer, Meditation, Sleep, and Gratitude. It can be strengthened like a muscle, but it should also be thought of as a resource that runs down through the course of the day.

What does that mean? Are we to think we are limited in the amount of things we can accomplish every day because they all require willpower, and we just don’t have enough to do everything?

No. Here’s the key:

When a task is made into a habit, it no longer requires willpower to do it.

Whoa. What did you just say?

When a task is made into a habit, it no longer requires willpower to do it.

That explains why there are some people who seem to be able to do so much, and to do it consistently. Are they just really disciplined to get everything accomplished? No, not exactly.

In order to be successful at ____(fill in a lifestyle change)____, you need to make all those little changes into habits.

Think about some good habits you might already have, like brushing your teeth. Is it hard for you to decide to brush your teeth every morning? Probably not. You most likely don’t even have to think about it. It doesn’t require willpower to accomplish, and its pretty rare that you skip a day.

Would you believe me if I said that any lifestyle change can be made into a habit by enough repetition? And once you get there, it won’t be hard to keep it up with consistency.

Can cleaning the kitchen really be as much of a no-brainer as brushing your teeth? Yes! If you think of it in little bite-sized tasks that can be turned into habits.

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What about working out? Bathrooms? Planning meals? Reading my bible? Yes, yes, and yes!

So, where do I start?

Start by breaking up your goals into bite-sized tasks and start doing them with consistency. At first it will require effort. It might be hard to remember or to budget time for. But if you keep going, there will come a day in the not-so-distant future when you won’t have to think about it. It will happen on auto pilot.

On the top of my list of things I want to do on auto pilot are:

  • Keeping the kitchen clean
  • Working out daily
  • Meal prep, and
  • Decluttering

What are some areas where you’d like to automate some good habits?

Here is one really helpful resource if you’d like to learn more on developing routines/habits:

Fly Lady

 

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