As we are about to face another year in our life, I know all have our dreams that
we want to achieve. The reason why we should avoid not to stick on thing that
we want to happen and overcome the barriers implement the steps to have success in what we DREAM.
From Leo Babauta:
Some of the most common reasons we don’t stick to things:
- We don’t take it seriously.
- We just forget.
- We run from discomfort or uncertainty.
- We give in to temptation, out of habit..
- We rationalize..
- We renegotiate..
- We dislike the experience and avoid things we dislike.
- We forget why it’s important..
- We get down on ourselves or give up in disappointment..
- There are too many barriers.
Overcome These Barriers, Get Better at Sticking to Things
- Take it super seriously. Is this important enough to commit to? Do you really want it, enough to push into discomfort when things get difficult? Consider this for a moment or two before deciding to try to stick to something. Then give it the effort that something important deserves — write it down. Make a plan, even if it’s just a short one. Commit to someone else. Set up reminders. Have a time when you’re going to do it every day. Clear a space to do that, set things up. Don’t take it lightly.
- Make sure you don’t forget. How will you remember when the time comes to do it? Where will you be, what will you be doing, when it’s time to meditate, or write, or exercise, or eat your healthy lunch? Put a reminder note or other visual reminder there. This is really important, because as we start to do something new, it’s too easy to forget. Put up multiple reminders, including one on your phone and one on your computer. If it’s important enough to commit to, it’s important enough to create these reminders.
- Relish the pushing into discomfort & uncertainty. We have to retrain ourselves to see discomfort and uncertainty as a signal to practice and get better at being in discomfort, instead of a signal to run away. Our minds habitually want to get away from discomfort and uncertainty, but there’s no good reason to do that. We won’t die or be hurt because we’re eating broccoli or doing a few pushups (unless you have a serious medical condition, of course — always check with a doctor if you do). There’s no need to panic and run when we’re uncomfortable. Instead, we can even start to relish this practice opportunity, to see it as a delicious experience of getting better at something, of learning and finding a way to open up to discomfort.
- See temptation as a signal to practice. In the same way, each time we have temptation, we can train ourselves to see it as a signal to practice staying in discomfort without needing to relieve it by giving in to the temptation. At a party where there’s chocolate cake (and you’re committed to a healthy eating plan)? Say no to the cake but hell yes to the opportunity to stay in the discomfort of not giving in to temptation. Say hell yes to the chance to explore what that’s like, to find joy and gratitude in the middle of it.
- Set boundaries to recognize your rationalizations. We can train ourselves, too, to become aware of when we’re rationalizing. It’s hard to see sometimes, because we’re so used to just rationalizing in the background, and allowing ourselves to believe it without any conscious thought. So to make it obvious that we’re rationalizing, it’s helpful to have firm boundaries, because then we see when the rationalizations are trying to convince us to cross the boundaries. For example, if you say, “I’m only going to eat between 11am and 6pm,” then it’s obvious when you’re trying to convince yourself to eat at 9pm. Other examples of boundaries: “I’m only going to watch two TV shows, and only after 8pm,” “I only eat hearty salads for lunch,” “I go for a walk or run every day when I get off work,” or “I meditate when I wake up, before I open my computer or phone.” When you set these hard boundaries, you see yourself trying to rationalize. When you realize this, just don’t let yourself believe the rationalization. They sound convincing, but they’re sabotaging you.
- Don’t renegotiate in the moment. Just don’t let yourself. Make the plan the day before (or at the beginning of the month, or the week, etc.) but don’t let yourself decide in the moment. You’re too prone to put it off or try to get out of discomfort. Instead, tell yourself that you can’t renegotiate for a week (or a month). Only after that period can you sit down and give it some thought, and decide whether you want to recommit.
- Relish the opening up to things you dislike. When you find yourself committed to doing something you dislike, it’s easy to try to get out of it, or resent having to do it. Instead, we can train ourselves to shift our mental attitude, and see it as an opportunity to practice open our minds up to this experience. What can we be grateful for right now, in the middle of this experience? How can we see this experience that we don’t like as a gift? How can we learn to see the deliciousness in this experience, instead of focusing on what we don’t like? Relish this opportunity!
- Reconnect to why it’s important. Every day, as you’re about to do this thing you’ve committed to, ask yourself why. Why is this important to you? Why have you devoted yourself to it, and is it worth devoting yourself fully to it? Can you commit wholeheartedly to it? Does this matter to you for a reason that’s bigger than your discomfort? Reconnect your actions to your devotion.
- Practice self compassion. When you mess up, when you are less than ideal, see when this causes you pain and difficulty. Give yourself some self compassion — actually give yourself a loving wish for an end to your struggle, a loving wish for peace, a loving wish for happiness. Instead of seeing this as a reason you suck, see it as a reason to love yourself. Then find something to learn from the experience, and start again. It’s no big deal.
- Remove as many barriers as you can. You’re fully committed, you’ve set up reminders, you know why this is important to you, you’ve set hard boundaries, and you’re ready to practice with your discomfort and temptations and rationalizing … now remove as many barriers as you can, to make it easier on yourself. Can you prepare everything ahead of time, so that when it comes time to do it, you just start? Can you make your meals on Sunday, so weekday lunches are just heating up a bowl of your veggie chili? Can you get your yoga mat and clothes ready, along with music or a yoga video, so that when you’re done with work, you can just change and press play? Can you remove distractions the night before, so that when you wake up to write, there’s just you and your writing program, and nothing else? Find your barriers, and remove them all. Eliminate all excuses to start.
I believe that if you implemented these steps, you’d be much better at sticking to something. What do you want to stick to for the rest of this month? For each month next year? Consider them now, figure out why they’re important to you and whether that’s an important enough reason to push into the discomfort of being consistent. Then commit yourself fully, wholeheartedly, with all of your being. You are worth it.