When Habit Surpasses Motivation
Motivation is so damn exciting. Usually when I have big goals, a big event, or a new and exciting idea I get motivated and inspired to drive forward and reach the goals.
The thing is, no one ever told me how short-lived motivation is. It is like a race car video game where I’m driving normal, then get a ‘bonus’ or burst of energy then drive forward fast and furious for a short amount of time. In that time I’ll pass as many cars as possible and get as ahead on the track as fast as possible. I do as much as I can in a short amount of time. But the thing is, it is only a short amount of time.
What else did no one ever tell me? This short-lived motivation is okay. This is to be expected. It is normal to be motivated for certain amount of time. Then it wears off as time drives on and the exciting can become mundane, or the challenges of the goal becomes too much.
This is where the power of habit and even discipline surfaces.
I think we understand habit all wrong.
I know I get frustrated with myself when I don’t ‘just do yoga every night’. It seems so easy, but when I get home from training and have finished my work the last thing in the world I want to do is stretch.
But the thing is, with a habit (good or bad) it is creating neural pathways in the mind. They start as thick as string but over time become rope as we continually practice those habits day and and day out. So to start a new habit is incredibly difficult. For me, the trick has become to replace one habit with another.
I analyzed my habits, and before I go to bed I jump on my phone for 10-20 minutes to relax and scroll social media and to read some entertaining material. I can’t afford this habit. So it is time to replace this habit with some yoga. Changing my evening routine. My old habit will always be there, but the neural pathways will become weaker and weaker as I replace it with my new habit.
The ultimate goal is to set up habits through discipline when we are motivated and supercharged, and to set them up well - so they are not only attainable but also sustainable. So when the motivation leaves, and it will (and that’s okay) - but when it leaves we have these habits to fall back on.
The ultimate goal is to have these habits so dialled in that eventually we are reaching our goals through habits, day in and day out. This is no longer a challenge. This is just what we do.
Learning through reading and studying.
Finding ways to challenge ourselves so we grow.
Whatever it is for you.
It is also completely normal to doubt our goals. Especially if they are big ones. Especially when it gets hard. Is it really that important to reach that weight loss goal? That Jiu-Jitsu goal? Get ready for that tournament? Is it really that important? Will it really be worth it?
The answer is it is worth it to you, that is why you started in the first place. Why is is worth it to you. To challenge yourself if some way, to make yourself better in some way, to experience life in a better way, to obtain more value out of your life - whatever it is. It is worth it to you, otherwise you wouldn’t have started the journey in the first place. What is your why.
Why did you start.
To be honest, if we are to live our best life we can’t afford to waste a lot of time. We all do, I know I do. I waste time. But I cannot afford to. There is no secret to world champions, to elite athletes, to those who ‘have it all together’. Well, maybe there is a secret. To create habits while your motivated then to stick to those habits through discipline until it is just what you do day in and day out. Exciting or mundane.
Then when you reach those goals and experience the excitement and satisfaction you realize all over again why it was worth it to you.
The harder the battle, just remember the success that is on the other side. The problem is, the satisfaction and victory becomes addictive. After one win you get hungry and begin immediately searching for the next win.
Use your motivation to set up your habits, and your disciple to keep those habits.
Time to level up.
Time to get ready for Masters Worlds.
P.S. What yoga do I do? Yoga specifically designed for Jiu-Jitsu, although Muay Thai ninjas can absolutely benefit as well. Click here to check it out
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