All Men were created alike; it is their habits that separated them.
The unfortunate thing about this world is that good habits are so much easier to give up than bad habits. But I will let you in on an ancient, innumerably tried and splendid secret.
Habits are safer than rules; you don’t have to watch them. You don’t have to keep them, they keep you.
‘Bad habits’ are much easier to break today, than waiting till tomorrow to abandon it.
Imagine you need to cut down on smoking and you think “ah what is the difference if I quit smoking today or tomorrow, it’s just a matter of a couple of cigarettes.” But how can you be sure you won’t be taking this same attitude tomorrow also. The more you continue on a mundane routine habit, the more addicted you get to it, be it a good habit or a bad.
The easier it can be done, the harder it becomes to change it.
So instead you can start by removing ashtrays, matches, extras cigarettes from your house, car, and office. you can also narrow down your smoking to only your home and never in the car or at office. Then you can limit consumption down to just one room at home and then to one chair and gradually to 1 cigarette on that chair. If you succeed in getting this far then you can limit that one smoke to an unpleasant place such as a garage or bathroom n finally completely stop smoking. This is why it’s said that “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going”.
So no matter the goal, motivation requires these three basic components:
- The goal
- The stakes
- The referee
Screwing up any of these three can doom your success.
Setting a goal
Your ultimate goal might be ambitious and far-off — like to lose 20 lbs or more or to become a billionaire. But the motivation should be for small steps that are easy to measure.
Once a school teacher tried different ways of paying students to improve their test scores. One experiment he ran, where students were paid for higher scores, completely backfired. But in a separate test, kids who were paid less than a dollar every time they read a book achieved significantly higher scores on the reading comprehension section of the test. It was the incentive for the small steps that got the big goal accomplished.
Likewise, make sure the goal is something you can easily control.
Setting the stakes and the recipient
Suppose you set a stake for not accomplishing your goal as $25 every day. You can set it so high because you want to make failure nearly impossible. If your penalty for not accomplishing your goal is $2 for every day. That is considerably lower. So a more minor emergency, like something unexpected at work, or family issues could theoretically convince you to pay up one for that day rather than doing the chore set for you.
Picking a referee
Of course, the best referee won’t cave in to your lazy excuses and be lenient with you, no matter what. For that reason, it’s best to pick someone whom you trust but aren’t too close to. You also need to make sure you and your referee are completely on the same page as to what your goal means.
The perfect motivation is one that harnesses the drive you have at your height of enthusiasm, so that at times of weakness, the financial penalty can back you up. The $25 looms over your head if you feel too lazy or tired to accomplish your daily goal.
Like they say; ‘what’s well begun is half done’
The second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.
Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny