If you want to work on your physical exercise, put on your running shoes as soon as you get home from work
By Lorraine Morris
“Without coffee I would never be Olympic champion. I needed all the caffeine!” Sifan Hassan
A few weeks back I left you with a task of creating a habit inventory for yourself, this is done by simply writing down your daily routine and for each routine allocating whether it is a + good, – bad or = for neutral habit.
The example I gave was give yourself a +, – or an = sign e.g., waking up and making my bed + (good habit), answering my WhatsApp messages straight after – (bad habit), brushing my teeth = (neutral habit).
The purpose of this task was to give you an opportunity to reflect and be self-aware on whether your daily habits are really making you out to be the best version of yourself that you want to be known for or not and from there then work on deciding which habits you need to work on changing.
So, let’s move a step further, Conventional wisdom says that the key to habit change is motivation.
Today I want to remind you that science says that it is not motivation but the power of repetition, as humans we gravitate to doing things that require the least amount of effort.
To master a habit, it is important to repeat the activity, we have heard the saying practice makes perfect. The truth you may not get perfect but the more you repeat it the more it becomes hardwired and easier to perform.
I am not too sure if you managed to catch the Tokyo Olympics 2020 earlier this month, one of my favourite sports was Athletics and the most memorable was watching Sifan Hassan the middle and long-distance runner from the Netherlands who won 3 medals, 2 golds and 1 bronze.
The reason she caught my attention was linked to her resilience during her 1500m heat.
As she ran this race, she unfortunately tripped over another runner, at that moment she could have given up on making it to the finals of that race but instead she got back up and ran and overtook all those who had left her behind and came first!
Now isn’t that fascinating?
What she portrayed in that moment was the habit of resilience, the ability to bounce back, to stay positive, to encourage herself, to forgive herself, to be loving and compassionate with herself, to shake it off and start again and finish strong! If you didn’t get to watch this race, please do take the time to go and watch and experience it for yourself.
The one thing that got me to laugh after this was how she went ahead and gave credit to her favourite beverage (i.e., her daily habit) for helping her get up in her own words she said: “When I fell down and had to jump up … all the energy seemed to leave me, I was so tired. Without coffee I would never be Olympic champion. I needed all the caffeine!”
For each one of us there is need to have that habit of resilience.
As Zimbabweans I am so certain we all remember Mukadota, he had one song “Ndichatenga mota, ndichaitenga neshungu”, the context to this was he was running late for work one morning and was flagging a lift down, the person who stopped however didn’t necessarily give him a lift but rather provocative advise that Mukadota needed to buy his own car, he said to him “Bank haurizive”.
We don’t know how long it then took him to work on his financial habits to eventually buy a car.
I’m certain it may have looked as if certain changes he had made were not making a difference, he may have spent months in the valley of disappointment, who knows the bank may have told him he didn’t qualify to get a loan at first etc., but what we do know is we then hear him saying in the third person “vatenga mota”.
Can you imagine the rush of dopamine when he had finally achieved that goal? Think back to your own wins, when you were able to achieve that goal of passing an exam?
Getting your first client? Losing a few kgs? Starting your new business etc. What was that habit you worked on that made that a possibility? What habit do you need to work on next?
As always there are always tips, I would like to leave with you to practice in your journey of habit formation: The two-minute rule – i.e., the habit should take you less than 2 minutes to do e.g. If you want to work on your physical exercise, put on your running shoes as soon as you get home from work.
Create an If then plan i.e., a plan that you will make use of about when and where you will implement your habit e.g.
If you are wanting to build a savings nest your plan could be “I will deposit $20 every Friday into my savings account”.
If you want to pass your upcoming exams, your plan would be “I will study subject x every day for 2 hours from 8pm”. If you are preparing for an upcoming race, it could be “I will run 5kms each day at 5am”.
Prepare your environment to align to your new habit e.g., if the plan is to eat more healthy meals, rid your pantry of junk food. I hope this gives you great insight and that you get to work on either of the 3 tips.
Have a good week ahead, remember you can change only if you want to!
Lorraine Morris is Co-Founder Musikana Foundation – firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram @musikanafoundation. Revive and Thrive Hub – email@example.com Instagram @reviveandthrivehub