By Leo Babauta
In this webinar, I shared how to create a mindset that leads to consistency and I answered some great questions.
I’ve broken this webinar recording into two parts:
- Part I – My Talk: Creating an Environment & Mindset That Leads to Consistency (See notes)
- Part II – Questions & Answers: I answered questions on how to deal with ambivalence, how not to get discouraged, setting up a consistent schedule and more!
Part I: Leo’s Talk (with notes)
Here are the notes from my talk (video is below the notes):
Creating an Environment & Mindset That Leads to Consistency :
- We start out feeling committed to a challenge, a project, a habit change, a hobby â€¦ but this initial motivation and commitment doesnâ€™t often last very long.
- Other things get in the way, from new interests to sickness, from busyness to travel, from crises at work and in your family to just lower energy
- Then when energy and motivation and available time start to go down â€¦ you inevitably tell yourself itâ€™s OK to push this back a little, itâ€™s OK to skip a day
- Once this happens, itâ€™s not the end of the world â€¦ but we tend to continue it once itâ€™s started. We look at the day or two we missed, and feel bad about that, or just avoid thinking about it, and then weâ€™re no longer focused on this commitment, weâ€™re no longer making it a priority
- What if we could learn to deal with these dips in motivations and energy, with the blips in consistency, so that they donâ€™t sidetrack us? This would be a hugely valuable skill, because weâ€™d be much better at sticking to our commitments, dealing with bumps in the road, not getting derailed
- Two big areas that we can work on here is setting up a supportive environment, and changing mindset
SETTING UP YOUR ENVIRONMENT
- Setting up your environment when youâ€™re starting out, when youâ€™re super motivated, is a way to anticipate fluctuations in energy and motivation, to set yourself up for a stronger commitment when things inevitably falter at some point (whether in two days, two weeks or two months)
- Itâ€™s also a way to get back on track if youâ€™ve faltered
- Imagine if you set up an environment where you had to write a book, and you removed everything but whatâ€™s needed to write the book â€¦ and you had friends taking turns being there for the four hours while you were supposed to be writing, not only making sure you were writing but sharing motivational quotes and photosâ€¦ and you had a bet where if you didnâ€™t write that day, youâ€™d lose $1,000 or had to sing in public or something you really didnâ€™t want to do
- In that environment, your chances of sticking to the commitment would skyrocket. Now, Iâ€™m not saying we need to do that exact setup, but you can see where environment can hold your fluctuating motivation and energy
- There are a thousand ways to set up your environment, so Iâ€™ll just mention some that help me
- Itâ€™s important to start by setting up reminders in as many ways as possible – on your phone, in your calendar, posted next to or on your computer, placed in notes around your house (bathroom mirror, coffeemaker). This is important for starting, but as they start to become less effective, change them up
- Iâ€™ve always found it important to have some kind of accountability â€” I report to a friend each week about my meditation commitment, a group of men about some inner work Iâ€™m doing, and you guys and others for the work I have to do
- Setting up consequences and/or rewards can be a big boost sometimes
- Being part of a challenge can be motivating
- Iâ€™ve found it important to have a weekly review and adjustment session â€” just 5-10 minutes to review how things have gone, and how I can adjust my environment or practice to be more effective
- I like to have things that inspire me show up at the right times â€” an email with a motivational quote, for example, that hits my inbox once a week, or a photo with a quote as my phone lock screen
- This is more of a procedural thing, but when I start out by checking in with my intention (to create a webinar that will deeply serve Sea Change members) â€¦ it reminds me of why Iâ€™m doing it
A HELPFUL MINDSET
- Aside from an external setup that supports you when you need it, there are internal things we can do to help
- One is a feeling of deep devotion to other people â€” making the action or project or habit change about someone other than yourself shifts something. Itâ€™s not just, â€œOh, I would like to fit into those tighter pantsâ€ but â€œI am eating healthy to inspire my daughter to a healthier lifeâ€ â€¦ thatâ€™s much more meaningful. If youâ€™re writing a book to get fame, itâ€™s not as meaningful or powerful than to write to give an oppressed people a voice, or to help those who are in pain
- Another is the mindset that itâ€™s OK to fluctuate, but itâ€™s not OK to abandon your commitment. Itâ€™s OK to miss a day because you absolutely need a rest (though you donâ€™t always have to rest, more on that in a minute) â€¦ but itâ€™s OK to take a rest, but then you need to come back â€¦ if youâ€™re committed to that, then having people support you when you miss a day or two is important, because then youâ€™re more likely to come back to the commitment
- Another is the mindset that itâ€™s important to push into resistance, at least a little bit. One member, Helen, asked a question:
From Helen: â€œhaving a mindset that doesnâ€™t give in to rationalisationsâ€ â€” This is interesting, as on one hand, we want to keep our commitments to whatever weâ€™ve committed to, on the other hand, there is listening to needs of the body in the moment, and on a third hand! there is stretching what the body and mind are capable of. If there is resistance, then this is probably a reason to keep the commitment.
Question is where is the balance?
The balance is in pushing into your resistance, every single time, at least a little bit. Then trying to recognize whether this is a rationalization or a true need for rest. Listening to your body and mindâ€™s needs is important, but itâ€™s not always true that you need to rest. Sometimes youâ€™re just resisting. And no matter what, I suggest you commit to doing the action despite the resistance, at least for a few minutes. Let yourself do something when youâ€™re tired or unmotivated. Let yourself do it even if you really donâ€™t feel like it. Youâ€™ll be amazed what youâ€™re capable of.
Part II: Questions and Answers
Questions answered in this video:
- How to deal with ambivalence that undermines our resolve? If we need to give up certain things to keep our commitment, but it’s hard to do so?
- How can I fit everything into my day? I have so many projects that I can’t fit them all into the time available.
- How can I NOT get discouraged if it takes me extremely long to automate a habit? I am trying to brush my teeth every night again, but in the past that did not prevent a lot of dental work..
- Where does the incredibly strong resistance come from? It’s easy to be optimistic – until the time comes to actually begin and the resistance kicks in!
- My schedule is flexed every day by my baby. How to overcome that? If i am not on top of things from wake up on i get the feeling the day and everything is slipping. I get depressed..
- I want to practice the piano consistently everyday so I can perform in the near future. I keep putting it off, but when I practice I feel great! How can I change my mindset blocks?
NOTE: I also talked for about 10 minutes at the end about our upcoming move from the forums to Slack – please check it out!