We aren’t robots who can programme ourselves to reach a goal. Successful change comes in stages. So does maintaining that change. How long it takes and how well it works depends on certain things, like whether the pain of change exceeds the pain of staying the same. It depends on your motivation and your daily commitment.
Wanting change is one thing, but knowing how to change can also be difficult.
There are some great strategies for forming new habits and making them stick. I’m reading ‘Atomic Habit’s’ by James Clear at the moment, and here are a couple of his ideas:
Identity shift – consider what sort a person you want to become. For example, ‘I want to be someone who can hike without getting knee pain’, or ‘I want to be someone who manages stress well’. Develop an identity around your goal, and work on becoming that person.
To become a person who can hike without getting knee pain, you would have to develop the habit of doing a daily movement practice to support this.
Habit stacking is good place to start. Attach your new habit to something you’re already doing. For example, ‘after I get up, shower and dress I will do my somatic practice on my bedroom floor before going downstairs’. Use the cues of time and place to help you.
Habit tracking helps you visually see your progress with your new habit. Track it in a journal or calendar, or with a checklist. Ticking it off everyday as complete can be very motivating and help build the identity of a person who does that activity everyday.
The main thing is to focus on your system, not on your goals. If you’ve got a good system in place for your simple daily actions, the desired result will come.
To ‘never miss twice’ will help keep your system on track, and my own personal commitment when life inevitably gets in the way is to ‘simply resume’. We don’t have to be perfect with our habits and these useful ideas can help us avoid slipping into the ‘what the hell effect’ (oh well, I haven’t done it for a few days, so another day won’t matter).
No matter what, keep taking small actions each day to make the changes you want in your life. Think of it as a continuous improvement project – progress, not perfection. Commit to being unstoppable.