The constant need for bursts of motivation VS consistent willpower to create a habit
In my journey of personal growth and self-improvement, I am constantly asking myself: do I need bursts of motivation and willpower or habits that are key to lasting change and success in my life?
What I’ve discovered is BOTH are necessary…
Today is National Writing Day, and it’s something I would not normally celebrate because I’ve never considered myself a “writer.” However, multiple people have told me over and over that they love reading these emails and my blogs and that they could never be a writer because it’s maybe not something they enjoy or think they are good at, or even like to do.
Even though I wrote a book (The Possibility Project,) I still don’t consider myself a writer. I think it’s because I am not a “trained” writer and I’m in no way someone who went to school for writing. I can’t spell, and honestly, I can barely form a sentence with proper grammar and punctuation. However, what I can say and what I have found success in is that I’m consistent in my writing.
It takes something to sit down and write these emails/blogs, and what I’ve found is consistency is key….(though my assistant, who helps me format and schedule these might not agree on consistent timing, HA!)
A study done by Philippa Lally and her team at University College London found that it takes about 66 days for a habit to form, not the previously thought 21 days. The other big find in her work, to start a habit, you must start with consistent willpower and eventually it will turn into a habit, but you have to be just that - consistent. The conscious effort to decide to keep going and keep doing the thing you want to do.
She also found the more days you skip, the less likely you are to form that habit, because of that initial burst of willpower. If you are struggling to form a new habit, that’s because it’s cleary really f*cking hard to do. I mean 66 days is not instantaneous. It takes something to get there, that’s 2 months of making yourself do something, even when you maybe don’t want to, or you’re tired, or you’re asking yourself “Is this worth it?!”
No lie, that question comes up a lot for me. “Is this worth it?” Right now, I’m doing another food change due to a recent health diagnosis. Many of you know my food and eating is restricted due to food allergies and more recently some histamine flare-ups, and it has been tough to be consistent.
It will always be easier to do what you’ve always done, and it will always be harder to convince yourself or create a burst of willpower. ALWAYS. But, if you really want that thing, it takes something to create a habit, so remind yourself that it’s hard and DO IT ANYWAY.
It’s the ability to hold the pose for not 5 more breaths, but just the extra one. It’s that extra hold of willpower that pushes you forward. You don’t need to do pushups without the use of your hands before you realize you are strong. It’s the willpower of holding a plank for 1 second longer each time that creates the habit and muscle memory, but d*mn that extra second can seem like forever. And those YESyoga teachers’ 5 breath counts feel like 50….. I mean they need some double-checking and guidance on learning time……(HA!)
So remember your goal, and remember it’s going to take some willpower to get started…and about 66 days of consistency and eventually habit will take over.
If you need some accountability or help with your habits, reach out. I’d love to help!