Former procrastinators, as we help contain the Corona virus, I pray you are healthy and remembering the great love of our powerful God. Let’s express joy and gratitude while in these circumstances as we recognize time and opportunity we don’t normally have in our homes. We have fewer interruptions and more time in place. There are increased pressures on one hand, but on the other, we can grow in faith and in relationships. Reading, games, projects, cooperation – talking – can bless us all. So whether in person or by phone, reach out with a word of encouragement and a listening ear.
This is a good time to start mini habits that we can carry on later.
“Don’t feel like it’? Can’t “make yourself”?
In Mini Habits, Stephen Guise sheds light on motivation and willpower. Condensed from his book (with comments):
If getting motivated is your strategy, you cannot build habits. Motivation is an important feeling with many benefits – a nice bonus when it appears. However, motivation is unreliable because it’s based on feelings which are unpredictable. Though good, motivation is an unreliable strategy for lasting change.
Believing that you have to be motivated to act is false. When you can’t do anything unless you’re motivated, it primes you to spiral into laziness (and procrastination). Thinking motivation has to precede action creates frustration. (We’re trapped in delay.)
Guise says forcing yourself to do something with willpower beats trying to get motivated: 1) Willpower is reliable. Forcing yourself to do something no matter what is dependable. 2) Willpower can be strengthened like a muscle. 3) Willpower strategies can be scheduled.
Five factors weaken willpower: effort ( minis eliminate tiresome decision making), perceived difficulty (drops when you begin a mini), negative effect (minis feel positive), subjective fatigue (minis require little), blood glucose levels (minis preserve energy). A mini habit is easy to do even if these factors are present.
Mini habits make exercising willpower easy. They’re so small they demand little. Read two pages, eat one carrot.
Mini habits are low-willpower Trojan horses that gain easy access into the brain’s control room then perform big results. They overcome any mood or situation. They move you out of doubts and fears in a safe way.
Repeating small tasks makes willpower stronger. (Meanwhile, we enjoy success, gain confidence.)
Consistent repetition of small steps. No motivation required, just a speck of willpower.
For what job have you relied on motivation to get you going? What will you do instead?