Identify the problem with habits

Perhaps this sounds familiar: for the umpteenth time, you promise yourself that you will take up that new habit you’ve been meaning to do. And then, when the moment to do it comes, for some reason you don’t do it. What’s the problem?

When we want to adopt a new habit or face a challenge, we are usually proactive about it, which is a good thing. We think about what we need to do to make the thing happen. For instance, if you’re trying to meditate every day, you may schedule time in your day for it and tell yourself that you will sit quietly first thing in the morning.

But when you wake up the next day, something gets in the way, and you don’t end up meditating. It doesn’t matter, you say, I’ll do it tomorrow. The following day, you’re in a rush or you don’t feel well. Several days pass by, but you don’t go through with your well-intended plan.

This is a good moment to ask yourself: What’s the problem?

If you’re slightly introspective and honest with yourself, you will notice whether there is an underlying issue that is preventing you from doing the thing in question.

Let’s say you’ve been meaning to meditate, but it just isn’t happening. Perhaps the problem is that you don’t know how to meditate, so you feel lost and uncertain about the whole thing. If that’s the problem, then you could find a video on YouTube the previous evening that you’d like to meditate with in the morning.

Another possibility is that you may not really believe that it’s a worthwhile use of your time to do nothing for ten minutes. If that’s the case, you need to revisit your motivation: why are you trying to meditate in the first place? Or you can seek out a type of meditation (or visualization, or breathing technique) that you consider a good use of your time.

It could also be the case that the time you’ve set aside for meditation doesn’t work well for you. It sounds great to get up and meditate right away, but perhaps you’re still really tired at that time or, as is often the case for me, you’re too hungry. If timing is the problem, then you can look for a better moment in your day.

The important thing is to identify the problem. It’s a shame to give up an activity because you think it doesn’t work for you when, in fact, a practical, manageable issue is preventing you from doing it.

Next time you’re having trouble with a stubborn activity you’d like to take on, try this: identify the problem.

Have you tried this? Let me know by commenting below or on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.