By Leo Babauta
A common problem with a program like Sea Change is that members get excited about starting a plan, do great for a few days or a week (or more), and then something happens that stops them.
What should you do if this happens to you?
The sooner you restart, the better. Let go of the guilt. Don’t worry about failure. Don’t worry about a lack of discipline.
Here’s what to worry about: what happened? The failure is just a lesson about your method — it’s not a reflection on you. If your method didn’t work, tweak it so it’ll work better this time.
And get started again, today!
The longer you wait to restart, the harder it seems to be. So if you have waited 1 or 2 days, it’ll be easier to restart. If you’ve already waited 10 days or two weeks, it’ll be a little more difficult, only because of guilt and a negative belief in your ability to do the plan. However: the guilt and negative feelings are completely made up in your head. They are a movie you are playing — pause that movie, and play another, more positive movie.
Here’s what to do in any case:
- Restart today. Don’t worry about the failure — just get going again. Put your effort into doing even just 2 minutes of your habit today.
- Let go of guilt. The guilt and negative thoughts are a movie playing in your head — they aren’t true. Let them go, breathe a sigh of relief, and congratulate yourself for having the courage to start again.
- Improve the method. Was the habit too hard? Do a smaller, easier version. Did something come up that got in the way? That happens — try to think ahead and plan around those things next time, or if they happen unexpectedly, give yourself 1-2 days off and focus your efforts on starting again as soon as you can. Is the time of day you were doing the habit not a good time? Try another time. Did you not feel motivated? Add some accountability.
- Just do a little, every day. You don’t have to do that much to get going. Just do a very bare minimum, and make it easy on yourself. This isn’t supposed to be hard work — it’s supposed to be consistent work, as much as possible. So do a little, and do it regularly, and have fun doing it.