Most habits are about reaching an end goal. For a lot of goals, that ending doesn’t really exist. We like to be ever growing, so once we reach a goal more often than not we move the goalposts. If we don’t, then we fall back into old habits and undo all our good work.
People who I see sticking to their new, healthy habits, or people who have always lived that way, seem to profoundly enjoy the habit itself. They get excited about their exercise regime, or they enjoy the time spent finding healthy recipes and shopping in specialist shops. They don’t begrudge these things.
I’m sure everyone from time to time can’t be bothered, but these habits seem to be so ingrained that even when these people are sick, they still find a way to execute them, or don’t fall off the wagon once they are well again.
It’s very inspiring.
I know that all we really do is practice, and that failure is important. We can’t be perfect at something right away, so if we haven’t grown up eating healthily then it will be more challenging to do so.
I set goals each year, and I split my year into four-week chunks. Each chunk has a theme, and this will be my fourth year doing this. Each year I fail, but each year I learn something new and get a step closer to where I want to be. These failures allow me to see where I can improve on my habit making and highlight issues which may need different kinds of work.
As I get older I am more aware of the importance of mindfulness, being aware of thoughts and being present in the “now”. I even took a mindfulness course while I was at university, and I revisit the materials periodically. That mindfulness and being aware is what helps us to cultivate the new habits.
This year I want to think about the enjoyment of the habits I’m trying to create. Not necessarily focussing on the end goal, although those are nice to imagine as they can help push you to create the habit. But really taking time to enjoy the habits themselves.