As a result of the pandemic, many of us have been experiencing a lack of motivation for work, self-care, starting new projects, plans or ideas. It completely makes sense that it can be difficult to keep momentum or even just get started when there are so many things to attend to:
- Family responsibilities
- Anxiety about the future
- Strange and discombobulated schedules
- Our own or loved ones’ health
- The global trauma
- And so many other things…
However, many of us still want to move forward on developing a consistent habit, which is for us. Those desires around what you want to build a routine around can vary. These are some of the activities that I have been hearing lately:
- Finding a workout routine
- Starting a new business idea
- Developing a community around an interest
- Getting back to reading for pleasure
- Taking on a work project that could enhance visibility and advancement
- Committing to a meditational practice
- Working on better sleep habits
With all of the overwhelming things going on around us, how do you find a way to get started on an activity that you really want for yourself, but which feels too daunting to begin.
It’s really natural to look at project, see all of its components and go down a rabbit hole of despair.
“I don’t have the time.”
“When will I ever be able to do X?”
“How can I do this – when I need to do X, Y and Z?”
A microhabit focuses on only a VERY SMALL commitment.
Instead of becoming overwhelmed by how difficult it will be to execute the completed task, focus on what you CAN COMMIT TO related to your goal.
Maybe your goal is starting that business that you have been thinking about forever, but you are working full-time and have significant household responsibilities.
Perhaps, what your microhabit is that you are going to spend 30 minutes 2x a week on your business plan. You then focus on specific tasks related to that goal during that time and you hard schedule those 30-minute periods into your calendar.
Continuing with our current example, your first week might be spent on researching business plan books and templates. If your microhabit time has to be moved, then you don’t delete it, you find a new time for it. After the first week, if you had trouble accomplishing the microhabit, step it back even further.
When I am working to help a client incorporate meditation into their lives, at first we start with 1 minute 2x a day and sometimes, they come back the following week and report that they wanted to do more, but you should avoid that temptation until you have been able to be consistent for a few weeks.
When you commit to a microhabit the most important piece is agreeing to a time frame or a behavior that can consistently adhere to. The commitment should be small. Don’t overshoot because when you miss it, you will reinforce the idea that you cannot reach your goal.
It’s really important not to judge how small the commitment is because if you can regularly complete it, you will be able to move forward on your goal. It’s ok to commit to reading 2 pages of a book per day as long as you are being consistent and sticking to your planned commitment.
If you find that you have been able to keep your first microhabit consistent for a few weeks and you feel like you can add more then you do so with an additional microhabit. You don’t want to sabotage your progress by adding too much. So, it would be like adding one more 30-minute time period if you have been able to stick to the other 2 for several weeks OR adding another page of reading.
Especially when you ARE ambitious and have known yourself to be able to handle significant amounts of work, it can be hard to just engage in microhabits. But they can be really helpful when you have struggled with motivation, you are feeling burned out or there are a ton of distractions. The ambition can sometime create an obstacle to actually accomplishing what you want especially when it’s unrealistic, unrelenting and doesn’t accommodate compassion for complex situations.
What is a goal that you have been wanting to work on AND what is one microhabit that you could commit to?
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