Ever felt an adrenaline rush after watching a daily routine video of a student YouTuber? Aren’t we instantly motivated to incorporate their habits into our own routine? But, it’s quite a challenge to keep at it, isn't it? Why is that?
Whatever your idea and approach to the word ‘habit’ are, it ultimately refers to the routine that you fall back on when the slightest amount of discomfort is encountered, and human beings are indeed creatures of habit.
Why is it so easy to break away from new habits but so hard to create or hold on to them?
James Clear, the author of ‘Atomic Habits’ explains that it's not because good habits are hard to incorporate, but because the habits we wish to adopt are simply not a part of our identity or beliefs. We often want to cultivate habits for a desired prolific end result. Our subconscious mind considers it an extra task or hassle, in an already exhausting workload. Hence it gets kicked out of our routine easily.
To understand the idea of an ‘identity- based’ habit and its importance, let's think of it like this: Two people who desire to lose weight and eat healthy are invited to a meal at McDonald’s. The first person replies, “I’m sorry I can't, I'm trying to lose weight”. On the other hand, the second person responds, “I’m sorry, I don’t eat junk food”.
Now, both of these people refused the offer but they both had different convictions of why they did so. The former said that they were trying to lose weight. The decline was due to an outcome-based habit; whereas the latter refers to themself as a health-conscious person. They chose to make it their identity. In the future, the second person is more likely to hold on to the habit than the other.
The sooner we realize that it is our conviction that determines who we become and that is exactly what influences our habits, the easier it becomes for us to develop and hold on to them. Now it's your turn! Give this approach a try when you find yourself unable to hold on to a change you desire.