When first introducing a new habit into your routine, a whole host of difficult feelings arise.
Soreness, frustration, exhaustion, disgust, guilt, to name a few.
But if you push through your initial discomfort, could be weeks, could be months, eventually, the pendulum swings. You reach the point where you not only feel better when you perform that habit, but you feel worse when you don’t. Your brain and body learn that it’s actually harder to not do something than it is to do it.
This is the ideal place to be. Once you build a rich context of meaning and reward around a particular habit, the goal is for it to become physically, emotionally and spiritually painful not to do it.
That’s been my experience with every kind of habit, from journaling to meditation to exercise to not eating sugar to composing music to communicating with people.
Life is better with the habit than without it.
Vilhauer’s outstanding book on forward directed therapy talks this process of anticipating our positive future. She reminds us that the more we start to feel better, the more sensitive we will become to feeling bad.
For example, let’s say someone decides to cut alcohol out of their diet. Within a few months, they start feeling lighter and healthier and happier. They can’t believe they didn’t stop their habit earlier. Then about a year goes by, One day they decide to crack open an ice cold bottle of beer for old time’s sake.
And all of the sudden, that drink tastes like shit. Within minutes, their teeth start tingling and their head starts pounding. They can’t even finish the entire drink, so they throw it away and go brush their teeth to get the taste out of their mouth.
This is exactly what we want. To feel so much better that we’ve become profoundly sensitive to feeling bad. It’s not a dig against alcohol, as that is a wonderful thing for many people.
But when it comes to our habits, it’s not question of making the time to do something. Everybody knows that nobody has time for anything.
Only when the actual pain of not doing something exceeds the imagined pain of doing it, do we train ourselves to take action for the better.
LET ME ASK YA THIS..
Are you willing to stick with your new habit long enough where not doing it feels worse?