You’re reading The Real Reason You Don’t Achieve Your Goals (and One Easy Thing You Can Do About it), originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’re enjoying this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.
Do you ever feel like it’s so hard to get things done? Like you’re stuck in a hamster wheel running and running, but you never get anywhere? The work keeps coming and you think to yourself, “I can’t wait until the one day I catch up with everything so I can finally get started on what I’ve really been dying to work on,” but the day seems to never come and you have no idea when it ever will. You just hope one day, it does. You probably have caught on by now how hard it is to achieve your goals let alone make the time to try and complete them. It doesn’t take long from going to the gym for the first few days to missing that first day of your workout to eating the tub of ice cream to comfort yourself from the feeling of failure yet again. You’re not alone, and fortunately, there is something surprisingly simple you can do to finally achieve your biggest goals and accomplish things you never would’ve imagined being able to do.
When It Comes to Achieving Your Goals, Inspiration is Never Enough
When you hear the underdog stories of people achieving some of the biggest successes who came from nothing, you can’t help but be inspired and experience a little boost of motivation to something about your own life as well. The problem is inspiration isn’t enough. How many times have you been inspired to make a change in your life whether it’s to lose more weight, quit smoking, or spend less money only to find yourself in the same old bad habits again? Inspiration these days are easy to find. You can watch a Ted talk at the click of a button, or stream some Netflix to watch an amazing movie. The real problem here isn’t about finding more inspiration or motivation, it’s about the routines you have in your daily life.
You’re Routines You Can’t Get Yourself Out of Are the Key Problem
Maybe you’ve wanted to write your book, but taking care of two kids and providing for your family daily makes it tough for you to find the energy to squeeze in time to write. Maybe you’ve been hoping to eat healthier, but you get so busy at work it’s hard to find the time to get a proper meal. Maybe you want to quit smoking, but the stress at work always makes you crave that cigarette so bad so you run outside to light it up. The reality of why it’s so hard to break out of old routines is simply the fact that it is a routine. We are creatures of habit. Charles Duhigg explains in his book “The Power of Habit” how the basic structure of our habits consists of a cue (trigger), the routine, and the reward.
For example, when you wake up first thing in the morning, you have your phone next to you and your curiosity triggers you to check your email. You want to know if you received any interesting emails so the routine is to browse your inbox, and once you do so, your curiosity is rewarded and a surge of dopamine takes place to makes you feel good. Duhigg teaches the key to turning bad habits into good ones is when a cue triggers you to start a certain routine, you need to figure out how to change the routine into another one that still produces the same reward. If you were a smoker and your ten-o-clock break time comes, this cues you to go out to the street and light up a cigarette in order to obtain the reward of relieving your stress by getting that rush of nicotine in your body. The idea is maybe rather than doing the same routine of lighting up a cigarette, maybe you can go for a nice walk or meditate to achieve the same reward and relieve your stress. I’ve attempted to change my routines, but it was so much easier said than done. Especially when the cues come up so often, it’s so much easier to just stick with what you know or what you have been doing already. It wasn’t until I realized there was one simple thing I could to change up my routines, which was to change the environment that promoted my old routines.
The Key to Changing Up Your Routines: Start making Changes in Your Environment
Science has shown when you change your environment such as when you go on a vacation to a beautiful tropical country abroad, it rewires your brain, which can promote both mental and physical health. The same applies when you want to replace a bad habit with a good one. If you were to change up your environment even in the smallest ways, it can interrupt your brain from going into the same old habit and develop new neurons in your brain to increase your capability of changing. The key is to change up your environment in a way to make it as easy as possible for you to partake in the new routine you are trying to set for yourself. Let’s say you’ve been hoping to read more, but you find yourself too busy to do it. You examine your daily routines and you realized you spend about an hour on your phone every night distracted by random information on your social media feed before you go to bed. A few small changes to make to your environment can be to put your phone in the living room at night and place the book you want to read on the nightstand next to the bed so you have direct access to it when you hop in. By modifying your environment in this way, the chances of you developing a new routine is much higher than if you were to have your phone in your room next to your bed and your book out of reach on the bookshelf in the living room. So when you’re feeling down about not achieving all the things you were going for, maybe the simple subtle changes you can make to your environment will lead to the big results you are hoping for. Let’s test this out! I’d love to hear about any results from the simple changes you make to your environment in the comments below.
You’ve read The Real Reason You Don’t Achieve Your Goals (and One Easy Thing You Can Do About it), originally posted on Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement. If you’ve enjoyed this, please visit our site for more inspirational articles.