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Habits help because they can push you along when motivation fades

Improving Systems and Habits

Scott Miker is the author of several books that describe how to use systems and habits to improve.  This free blog provides articles that to help understand the principles related to building systems.  

Habits help because they can push you along when motivation fades

Scott Miker

A lot of people set goals around where they feel motivated.  They have an inner desire to accomplish something and feel a surge of adrenaline. 

They feel empowered.  It seems easier now that they are filled with this energy.  They assume the energy will help propel them to the finish line. 

But that almost never works.  Motivation alone is fleeting.  It doesn’t last.  It shows up during daydreaming or even planning sessions but disappears as soon as the rubber hits the road. 

When it disappears it is almost always at the worst times possible.  When we need it most, it is nowhere to be found. 

Therefore we have to learn how to do the things we need to do even when we are not motivated to do them. 

Some people simply say this is discipline.  We keep doing because we have to keep doing it.  It isn’t about how we feel in the moment it is about what needs to get done. 

But for me, there is a step before discipline.  Discipline is a formed habit for most people.  They have built up the discipline muscle and can overpower lack of motivation. 

Therefore, before we can even rely on discipline we have to build up that habit.  There are a couple ways that we can do that.

First we have to start small.  We don’t start with some incredible task; we start with small tasks and do them regardless of how we feel.  Because they are small it is much easier to do them and make sure we keep with it.

The second way to build up the discipline habit is to make sure we are consistent.  Habits form from recurring behavior and recurring thought.  So if we are always jumping around and there is a lot of variability in our behaviors, habits either won’t form or they will take a lot longer time to form. 

The third way is to shift our focus from being on trying to be perfect and reach our goals immediately to having patience and focusing on the progress we make. 

We have to be able to make progress towards our goals and the longer we do this the more likely we will start to build up the discipline muscle. 

We can all overcome the fleeting nature of our own motivation.  We can build up the right discipline to be able to keep going and do the things necessary to succeed.  But first we have to make sure we are building up the habits associated with discipline.

But spending time doing that is extremely valuable because these same elements can help you in almost any area of your life.  You can improve and grow and become who you have to become in order to gain the success and happiness that you crave.