Want to change something big and complex? Start simple and long term.

August 25, 2014 by Joshua
in Fitness, Habits, Tips

All my habit and SIDCHA talk leads to talking to a lot of people about starting and keeping habits.

I’ve seen that nearly everyone who keeps a solo habit long-term started the habit with something simple that they can keep going without trying too hard.

People who bike to work keep up their biking habit longer than people who bike separately because they have to go to work anyway. People who exercise at home keep up their exercise habit longer than people who have to go to gyms because you have to be at home anyway.

Non-solo habits also benefit from simplicity, but can benefit from other motivations, like working with an effective instructor at a gym course or joining a team, but they introduce other complications and dependencies.

I’m starting to refer to SALT SIDCHAs, for simple and long-term self-imposed daily challenging healthy activities, as I hear about people who start habits but give them up for taking too much effort. I love gyms for having all that equipment, showers, trainers, and so on, but they take time to go to and when it rains or you’re busy, they’re harder to motivate to use than exercises you can do at home.

If you find you love a simple habit, you’ll probably develop it to more complex ones. If you want to write but can’t motivate yourself to write 1,000 words per day, start with 500 or 250, see if you enjoy it and let your dissatisfaction with the small amount, if it develops, motivate you to write more. Start with home exercises if you don’t expect you’ll be able to keep up going to the gym. If you enjoy them and they start feeling inadequate, join the gym if you want more, knowing what you’re doing and why.

I feel like everyone knows this, but not everyone acts on it.

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