By Leo Babauta
Over a number of habit changes, I noticed that there was always a period when my initial enthusiasm faded, and I struggled to stay with the habit change.
When it comes to changing habits, your best friend is complete focus, having nothing else in your life that matters while you concentrate on this one change.
Unfortunately, most of us actually do have other things that matter â€” family, job, friends, emergencies, travel, sickness. And so these pull away our focus, and anything that pulls your focus away threatens to derail the entire process.
You might be feeling that now. I call it the “Three-Week Slump.”
In fact, I’m going through it myself â€” I’m traveling at the moment, and getting out of my routine has made sticking to my new habit difficult. I still think about the habit every day, but mostly in the context of, “Oh darn, I’m not really doing the new habit because I’ve been so busy, and now I haven’t been updating my log in awhile and I feel guilty about that!”
So what’s the solution to this slump? Actually, it can be overcome, you just need to take a few steps:
- Recognize you’ve hit the Three-Week Slump. I should note that the “three-week” thing is just an estimate … sometimes it hits in the 2nd week or 4th week, depending on what’s going on in your life. At any rate, recognize that you’re not as motivated, that you’ve messed up or are in danger of losing focus. Don’t panic! This is fixable.
- Quickly … make a commitment! All it takes is an email to a friend. Tell them you’re in a slump, and you need their help. Promise to get back on track by doing your habit, updating your log, whatever … and promise to report to them every day for the next 3 days. This is an easy step — it’s just a quick email!
- Now that you’ve committed, follow through for three days. You just need to take the first step. Open up your log. Get your running shoes ready. Put your yoga mat where you can’t miss it. Take a very small steps to get things going, and follow through on your commitment. Don’t mess up!
If you can get it going again for a few days, you’re back on track. Report to your friend every day. At the end of the three days, if you feel good again, no need to continue with your friend, but reach out to him or her whenever you feel the slump coming back on.
Now get to sending that email!