There are so many reasons why we all tend to be horrible at building new habits. But today, I'd like to share the top reasons why I believe we tend to be horrible at building new habits, myself included. Are you ready? Let's do this.
1. Simply put, we're too lazy.
Yes, you read that right. No matter how good our intentions may be we sometimes end up reverting back to old behaviors because it's easier, familiar, and most of all comfortable. Think about the last time you randomly decided that you're going to magically become a morning person even though you've always enjoyed sleeping in late. What about the last time you decided to join a gym, or attend a yoga session, to learn a new language, or whatever else you've given up on in the past month? Why did you truly stop doing the thing you said you would do? Were you physically unable to do the thing? Or were you just being lazy? Keep in mind that lacking motivation is different than being lazy. From my experience, lacking motivation doesn't necessarily mean that I have completely given up on my goal. It just means that I've experienced burnout or have tried at something so many times without a glimmer of success, so I step back and take a breather. The next time you feel as though you no longer want to pursue a goal, think about the real reason why.
I will admit, this one that I have always struggled with and fought against for the longest time. It wasn't until I found what worked for me that I stopped complaining to everyone and to myself that I didn't have time to do anything. The fact of the matter is that I DO have time. We all do!
What was holding me back and making me feel as though I lacked time was the way I decided I would use my time. I've wasted countless hours binge-watching shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime, I swear I could have learned a new language with as much dedication I had while watching The Expanse and The Witcher. Seriously! Now, this is not to say that you cannot ever enjoy some downtime and watch shows if that is something you enjoy to do. Rather, we must be more mindful of the way we use our time. After all, it is the one thing you can never get back once it has passed. Use your time well, plan out your day, weeks, and months in advance. If you need help starting a plan or mapping out a goal, check out our Setting Intentional Goals: Reclaiming Your Life One Task At A Time. It wasn't until I decided to be intentional with the time I spent each day that I truly learned appreciated it. If you are struggling with this area in your life and finding yourself constantly saying, "I wish I had time to do_________", then today may be the day you make the conscious decision to take back control of your life and time by creating a plan that will get you the things you want in life.
3. We want short-term efforts that will give us long-term results.
This is the complete opposite of creating habits that can serve us well in our lives. Very rarely are there shortcuts in life that will lead us to have life-long success in the future. Creating and mastering a new habit that will last will take a lot of patience, practice, trial, and error. The author James Clear does a wonderful job discussing this in detail in his book, Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. In his book, Clear talks about different ways we can combat our struggles with bad habits and provides practical solutions on how to implement new habits into our lives until they eventually become a part of our daily lives. When you have a moment, be sure to grab a copy here.
4. We let perfectionism get in the way.
How many hours have you spent working on perfecting something? Not because it was important or because it was required, but due to our own unrealistic expectations of what it should be like. We not only waste precious hours trying to perfect something that will never be perfect, but we also lose opportunities to learn something new. There are always going to be countless opportunities for us to learn and improve, but if we remain stuck trying to perfect one thing, we will always be behind. Also, our definition of perfect is never going to be the same as someone else, so it may be time to kick this one to the curb. The book FINISH: Give Yourself the Gift of Done by Jon Acuff addresses perfectionism so well. This is by far my favorite quote from this book regarding perfectionism:
"But more than just analysis, perfectionism offers us two distinct distractions: Hiding places Noble obstacles A hiding place is an activity you focus on instead of your goal. A noble obstacle is a virtuous-sounding reason for not working toward a finish. Both are toxic to your ability to finish." - Jon Acuff
5. Lastly, we don't have anyone to hold us accountable.
One of the main reasons we tend to give up on a habit is that we don't have processes and people in place to hold us accountable. Accountability may seem like the most basic of reasons to form a new habit, but it is so crucial in achieving the results we want in our lives. Having an accountability group or person in your life helps you set clear expectations of what it is you're trying to accomplish and why. Usually, we would randomly decide to do something one morning and not follow through the next. But when we let others know what we are working towards and know that we are to provide updates on our progress, then we are more likely to do the thing we are meant to do. Having an accountability group also allows us to challenge ourselves to be better than we were with friendly competitions. It also helps keeps us engaged with the tasks we set out to do without feeling lonely on the journey because we have others at our side that are also on the same mission as we are even if the end results may vary by person. Having an accountability group or person can also help you reach your goals by sharing your thoughts and ideas. You learn what worked, what didn't, along with areas and ideas for improvement. Having an accountability group works. I invite you to join our exclusive online book club accountability group in March. We currently have a waitlist but would love to have you be a part of our group. Be sure to sign up here so that you receive email notification of when we are open.
Join the conversation: What are some habits that you're trying to create? What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of forming a new habit? Did either of the reasons listed above resonate with you? If so, which one and would you care to share your experience with us? Leave a comment below.