I don’t think so. Habits aren’t habits unless they have become almost automatic. If something as small as a routine change stops a habit then it wasn’t a habit at all.
That’s bad news for me. I’ve been trying to instill the habit of more and better exercising into my life since January and a recent trip out of town totally broke down my “habit” into almost nothing. I mean, even after getting back home I’ve been really struggling to get even close to what I was doing before I went on this little trip.
This is leading me to believe that even after all those months of trying to do more exercising I have been unsuccessful at actually making it into a habit. Oh sure, I dug deep for my will power and grabbed at motivation from lots of sources and I thought it had been working but somewhere I failed to make it automatic.
If your “habit” isn’t automatic even after months of trying should you give up?
No, of course not. Neither am I going to give up. I’ve been contemplating what made my experiment a failure and perhaps you, reader, will gain some wisdom from my failure.
What is one thing that could help make something an automatic habit?
Firstly, I did not attempt to make this particular exercising habit a daily habit. Even though our bodies need rest in between exercising I could have better planned out different types of exercises for different days. Doing something daily greatly increases your success at turning something into a true habit—making it automatic—automatic to the point that little things in your routine will not stop you from doing it.
Secondly, I needed to work out competing motivations. For me, there was something competing for the same time slot that I had allotted for exercising that also holds very high value to me. It was my desire to have my devotional time with God. I was trying to do both of those first in the morning. Well, obviously only one thing can be first.
Make Peace With Your Competing Motivations
O.K., so I won’t try to exercise first thing in the morning. It will just have to wait! I will have my morning devotions first and then do some exercising (as well as combine some of my prayer time with exercise time).
What Will You Need To Give Up?
In order to do what I just said, I will need to get up a little earlier. I will need to give up some of my sleep time.
So what habits have you been trying to do that haven’t become automatic yet?
For example, have you been working on your eating habits and every time you visit your mom it goes right out the window? Don’t give up! There may be some competing motivations you could look at (are you afraid of offending your mom by not eating everything on your plate?) or there may be something that you need to give up not directly related to your habit (will you need to give up some chat time with your mom if in the past it always involved eating sweets along with your chat?).
Keep working on your habits until they truly become automatic. At some point you won’t have to rely on mustering up all the will power inside of yourself in order to accomplish your new habit. At some point, if you don’t give up, they will become a true habit and be almost automatic. Check back later here on my blog for more information on how to make your habits truly into habits. Comments welcome.