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Create Good Habits

Routine is more powerful than motivation.

People and their patterns have largely remained the same for thousands of years. We are creatures of compulsion and the best way to get over simply acting on our desires is to build good habits.

Motivation is good but it isn’t useful.

Positive habit forming is critical to a happy life characterized by consistency. Habits do an amazing job of replacing motivation. Motivation is all about our desire for a certain outcome; it’s driven by passion and emotion. Habits, on the other hand, are driven by duty, routine, and obligation.

We have all had days when we don’t feel like working, exercising, or making healthy food choices. However, when you develop these tasks into habits, they become a part of your routine, and you can do them even when you don’t feel emotionally compelled or motivated to do them.

Habits are flexible, predispositions are not.

Habits are easy to change, which can’t be said about temperament and predisposition. Even if you don’t like drinking water, if you make it a habit to only drink water with 2 of your 3 meals a day, it simply becomes a part of your routine.

Goals can lead to failure.

Habits are are harder to fail at than goals. Goals are nothing more than a complex system of habits working towards a singular outcome. Take for example getting in shape, you must build quite a few habits to accomplish this goal:

  • Eating healthier meals
  • Drinking more water
  • Waking up earlier to exercise
  • Doing cardio
  • Doing laundry frequently (work out clothes stink)
  • Cutting out certain foods from your diet
  • Getting higher quality rest

This isn’t a comprehensive list and already you can see how many small habits it takes to accomplish the goal of getting in shape. What is easier is to focus on 1 — 3 of those habits a week and try to get consistent with them. Once those few habits become second nature, you can add in another until all the “getting-in-shape” habits are part of a routine that isn’t driven by motivation and emotion.

Pair reflection with habit forming.

The UNJRNL system mixes the ideas of building habits and the practice of journaling to help people improve their lives. The philosophy of stoicism puts primacy on the practice of daily journaling as a means to self improvement. This practice has lasted the test of time because we as humans haven’t changed for thousands of years, we still require consistency, reflection, and routine to be successful.

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R. A. Ingram

R. A. Ingram

Husband, father, writer, teacher.