Hacking Motivation

Today, I'm expanding on a couple of the things I wrote yesterday.

I'm at one of those interesting times in life where you start trying on some new habits; hitting the gym more frequently, sleeping on-time, eating well (better), and obviously, writing.

I'm not new to these endeavours, and I've started all of these habits many times before, and eventually fallen out of the habit - otherwise I wouldn't be just starting them now! Today I'm talking about how I've noticed something about keeping up with habits. Something that can make it easier.

Yesterday I left two of my best friends a voice note; to the effect of:

"I've just had to return home after walking 200 metres from my door just to collect my phone. Just so it can measure my steps, so my move ring closes. Just so you know I haven't just been sat on my arse all day. What have you done to me?!"

After which ensued the usual banter, accusations of obesity, infused with general encouragement to get outside and not spend the entirety of my days sat on my arse working and playing video games. Good stuff, and effective. I didn't just close my move ring yesterday, I doubled the fucking thing and went and lifted some weights on top of that.

A move Ring is Apple Fitness' way of allowing you to share your step count / calories burned in a day with your friends, and it's inspired some competition.

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The crux of what I'm getting at here, is that yesterday I felt like arse, I wasn't my usual self at work, and the last thing I wanted to do that evening was start a new habit of going to the gym. And yet, after stepping outside for a walk for the simple task of closing this little ring, so my friends didn't laugh at me, completely changed my mood.

By the time I'd got home from the "ring closing" walk - I was much more motivated to get to the gym - let's show these guys how to close a silly fucking ring.

Fast forward to the same time today, I didn't think too much about the rings really - but I did want to go to the gym. I am, unfortunately, on fairly strict orders to be gentle with myself and rest properly. This is natural motivation, this is my dopamine system getting calibrated to the activity that I've not been habitually doing for a few weeks due to an injury. I didn't need the threat of my friends laughing at me to make me want to do this today. My body took over, and this is the habit forming.

I'll let you know tomorrow how much I feel like getting out of bed early tomorrow to hit the gym. I expect that will be harder, but we've all heard it takes more than a couple of days to form a habit.

But what do you do when you're in that initial stage of building a habit, and it's a struggle?

I strongly suggest getting your friends to threaten humiliation if you don't follow through.

I'll continue on these thoughts tomorrow, linking in a little more with some other habits I'd like to build.


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