Maintaining New Habits
I have a deep fear of losing momentum when I've found some. It feels amazing when your efforts are paying off, you can see the rewards, and it all feels like it's been worth it. No matter what you're doing you still would like to see some quantifiable progress. It could be the words you've written, the projects you've built, or the days you've exercised.
This past week I went about four days without writing. It's the longest I've not written since I started writing on 200wordsaday.com. I've chosen to take days off in the past, but this was less of a choice. As the days went by the fear of losing my momentum crept in.
The past week was tough to keep up. My day job sponsored a trip to their headquarters. How could I refuse? But I was concerned about how it’d affect my still developing habit, and it did.
Now I'm so busy I don't know when I'll get time to continue writing. What if I lose all the progress I've made in the past two months? What if it kills the momentum? It can vanish without you realising it's slipping away. At first, you say "I'll start again tomorrow", then a few days later, "I'll start next Monday, for the new week." Pretty soon it can become "The month's almost over, I might as well start again next month."
I Need More Time
For every new habit, I try to form it takes longer than I expect for it to cement. The first few days or weeks might be a breeze. I can even take a day off and still continue the next day. It's easy to become confident that the new habit has already formed when things are smooth. But then inevitably some disruption hits and I pause because I have no other choice.
A properly formed habit can almost effortlessly survive an interruption. When you finally get back to your typical rhythm it returns with it. In those weeks where the habit is still "wet" how do you handle these disruptions?
I don't have an answer here. Only my own attempts this past week to keep it going.
1) Ignore the Fear
The fear is handy but it only increases the pressure. It creates anxiety that might keep you away from getting back to what you want to be doing.
2) Write(Or Whatever It Is You Do) Terribly
Of course, you never want to do anything poorly on purpose. But the desire to be good can keep you from doing anything at all. One terrible attempt can be enough to get you started again. I hope it keeps me going.
3) Remember Your Why
Why are you doing it anyway? That desire likely hasn't changed, so if you remember why you felt so strongly in the first place it might give you the push you need.
That's what I've learnt so far, how do you maintain your momentum when it's interrupted?