Ever wondered to yourself “How does it come I can’t get myself to commit to develop a new habit”? I’ve been in that place too. Even though I’m usually a very intense person, I sometimes slack off.
Today we’re going to look at how you can develop a new habit, by doing something very unsustainable for short periods of time.
Moving the Needle
When you’ve decided you want to develop a new habit, the most important thing to do first is to move the needle. It can be very hard to get started, but once you’re there it’s not big deal anymore.
Moving the needle is all about this first burst of effort to get going. An example would be the guy at the back of the pack in the Tour de France. If they want to catch up, they have to sprint like crazy.
They will be using tremendous amounts of energy to get going. However, once they’ve caught up, they don’t need as much energy to keep in the pack.
Unsustainable is Fine
When you want to develop a new habit, doing something unsustainable is perfectly fine. Some people think this is too hard, or even impossible, because they could never keep up with it.
It doesn’t matter!
You don’t have to keep up, you just have to get going! From there everything will be so much easier. Building a habit is all about starting and then you’re set.
How I Develop a New Habit
In December 2018 I decided to quit drinking alcohol completely in January 2019. For me, this is unsustainable. I like drinking a beer or two, or a whisky.
In general, drinking alcohol is not a problem. It becomes a problem when you drink too much, or when you can’t function properly because you drink so much.
For me, this wasn’t the case. The only thing I am concerned about is my fitness. I noticed over the last few years that cracking open a beer was just too easy for me, and I drank more and more. Not to the extremes, but drinking one or two beers every night was definitely not helping my health and fitness.
So there I was, completely dropping alcohol and building a new habit. Or actually, not really a new habit but more changing an old one. I guess that counts too…
Rich Dad Poor Dad is also about developing new money making habits. Read my book review here.
Why This Works
Research shows that people that quit drinking for an entire month, are less likely to drink in the months afterwards. And that’s where I want to go.
I don’t intend to live a life without alcohol. For me it’s acceptable to drink now and then. But let that be the Saturday night with some good friends and an expensive and delicious Scotch. Not the regular Tuesday dinner with two beers.
My belly size will thank me for this decision I think.
How are you building a habit? Did you every try this strategy of moving the needle?