How to make a good habit a habit

It's easy to stay stuck in old routines. Here's how to break them.

Rafael Ben-Ari/Chameleons Eye/Newscom/File
It can be difficult to change bad spending habits, but it's worth the struggle.

Whenever we think about doing something different with our lives, a little resistance fighter starts preparing for battle inside of us.

He tells us why we can’t do it. He comes up with lots of plausible excuses. He talks about things that would be a lot more fun to do.

Often, he convinces us to do the wrong thing. We abandon that change we’ve been thinking about and go on with our lives as normal.

In short, he’s a real jerk.

We need to defeat him.

Once upon a time, that resistance fighter would convince me to be reckless with my money. As I began to turn my finances around, he would fight me every step of the way. He’d convince me to spend my money in ways that I knew I shouldn’t be spending it. He told me again and again that I shouldn’t take the leap into writing full time.

Each time, there was a series of battles against this resistance fighter. Sometimes, I lost. Eventually, though, I won the war and found great value in that victory.

Lately, the resistance fighter inside of me has been yelling at me to not get adequate exercise. He tries to tell me that I don’t have time or that I won’t really see any results from doing it.

He’s wrong.

Every day, we have a battle. Some days, he wins. That does not mean the war is over. It means that we’re going to battle again tomorrow.

More and more, though, I find myself winning the battles. I go on a walk and the resistance fighter retreats.

That resistance fighter is inside of all of us. He encourages us to keep doing the thing we’re doing that we know we should be changing. He resists change.

It is hard to battle him, particularly at first. Take it one battle at a time. Choose, just once, to do the right thing instead of the easy thing. Overcome the pleas of that resistance fighter.

What you’ll find is that the more you push yourself to overcome that resistance, the easier it becomes to win future battles. The resistance fighter gets quieter and quieter.

Before you know it, you have a new routine and a new life.

You’ve won the war.

Today is your first battle in this war. Are you up to the challenge?

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