“The greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom.” James Clear, Atomic Habits
How many times have you derailed your progress in order to try something new? Or let your eating habits slip because you’ve seen some progress and now it’s easy to rationalize the inclusion of extra treats as a reward for your hard work so far?
Because our good habits and routines become boring and well, routine.
As soon as the initial enthusiasm and excitement wears off it becomes less interesting to pursue our goals. When the outcomes of our habits are expected and the habits themselves become ordinary, we start looking for something new and shiny to keep us motivated.
Motivation is fleeting. It’s easy in the beginning because we’re “fired up, ready to crush goals.” But mastery requires practice and practice often becomes boring. The trick is to find ways of showing up for our goals and habits despite the boredom.
In the beginning, it’s important that our new habits are easy to stick to so that we can keep going despite what life throws at us – success breeds more success! However, once our new habits are entrenched, we need to make them a little more challenging to remain engaged.
Have you ever felt like you’ve been “in the zone” or in a “flow state”? This is likely when you’ve been working on something at an optimal level of stimulation – the activity is not so easy that it’s boring and not so difficult that it causes anxiety. This state of flow or being in the zone is an outcome of the Goldilocks Rule.
The Goldilocks Rule states: “Humans experience peak motivation when working on tasks that are right on the edge of their current abilities. Not too hard. Not too easy. Just right.” The idea is that your habits should be of just-manageable difficulty and at the edge of your ability. This tiny challenge to your comfort zone is what helps to maintain your motivation.
So what does the Goldilocks Rule look like for February’s #habitbetter challenge?
Once your new habits are dialed in, up the ante by stretching yourself a little further. Add an extra two minutes to your meditation commitment. If you’re comfortable with your extra portion of veggies at lunch, add an extra portion at dinner to replace the refined pasta or bread that you love so much but that doesn’t really love you back. Maybe tackle that weekly take-away dinner and make it a twice-a-month habit instead.
And remember, there will be days where you don’t feel like showing up for the new version of you. But show up anyway and keep your goals front of mind. If it’s important to you, you have to be committed regardless of mood or what life throws at you. Understandably there will be instances where you just CAN’T – but keep these to emergency situations and not just because you didn’t feel like it at the time. Your future self will thank you for it.
By Coach Lisa