I’m not good at building new habits, especially good ones. My husband is amazing at building new habits, and I’m not sure how he does it… It seems like he decides to do something and he just does it, day after day, never forgetting, never making excuses.
As a society we spend much on motivation, but motivation is not some magic thing that you have or you don’t, nor is it something you can wait for. Sometimes you have to make your own motivation, and while the feelings come and go, you need to just persevere with the activity.
We do things for one of two reason; either to avoid pain or to gain pleasure. Research shows that we’ll do far more to avoid pain than we will to gain pleasure.
I’ve noticed recently that there are a few things I have been doing every day. I’m a little embarrassed that the main thing that has kept me going is the way these things, these apps, have gamified the act of a daily task.
I find myself not wanting to go to sleep each night before I make sure I’ve done my games, French practice, or bible reading for the day. I don’t want to break my streak!
Part of the way these streaks are motivating, at least in the case of Duolingo and YouVersion, is that they can be seen by other people. Accountability, or at least the potential for it, seems to be a much better motivator than my own satisfaction at doing a task. I think that supports the quote above: that we avoid pain (the shame or embarrassment of failing) harder than we seek pleasure.
Despite it being a bit embarrassing, if this is the way I can get things done that I’ve been wanting to do, I’ll take it! Now, what else can I apply this to?
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