When deciding to make a permanent change in your routine, be it improving your relationship with food, or perhaps reading, relaxing or exercising more, make sure you strengthen these two key qualities.
Life doesn’t happen the way we predict it will. Why does that surprise us over and over again?
Change is hard.
Changing our routine takes focus and committed effort. It is natural for us to want to risk as little as possible and to expend as little energy as possible. Routine is comfortable, predictable, and effortless.
What happens when we force a extreme changes into our lives?
Several possible outcomes:
- We might quit. Oftentimes, we maintain a new habit using willpower in the short term, but end up getting burnt out and taking an undefined hiatus.
- We may fail before we begin. If we are intimidated by the time and effort required to make a change we might never even get started.
- Our other commitments might suffer. Sometimes when trying to incite a change in our routine we wind up neglecting our other obligations. After all, there is only so much time in the day.
So, how do we change our habits?
The definition of consistency that I found most relevant comes from Merriam Webster:
Consistency is the “agreement or harmony of parts or features to one another or a whole”
To make serious routine changes, the new activity has to fit into the whole of my life, harmoniously. It has to be something I can do without extreme effort or discomfort.
To successfully adopt a new habit we don’t necessarily have to do a lot of it, we just have to find a way to do it regularly. Ask yourself: how can this new habit fit into my life in a manageable way?
- No willpower needed.
- No intimidating time constraints.
- Low risk of other habits suffering.
The definition of flexibility I found most relevant comes again from Merriam Webster:
Flexibility is “characterized by a ready capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements.”
We must be ready and able to try new things and to adapt to our changing needs. Upset and obstacles are a part of the change process, expecting obstacles and being ready to pivot will help you find solutions. We must be flexible to maintain change and to therefore afford consistency.
What new habits or changes are you planning on making?
Have you noticed how flexibility has helped you to become more consistent?
Do you ask yourself if you can maintain a new habit long term before you start it?