Friday, February 15, 2008

One week.

When given the opportunity to do good, the most common obstacle is that of habit, meaning the habit of precedence and today's inertia. We do what we do today because we did what we did yesterday. We often plow through our daily cycles with crumbs of ideas to change: I'm going to get more organized. I'm going to start excersing tomorrow morning. We're going to eat more vegetables. But then the oomph, the sizzle, the spark of enthusiasm snuffs to a puff of smoke and spreads into nothingness. How to break that cycle? How to dig in and make change, make good stick?

Author of Zen Habits, Leo Babauta, has some strategies to share:

Get moving, a bit at a time. Inertia is beat only by movement. Once you get going, momentum builds up and inertia is no longer a factor. So the key is to get started, and you do that not by trying to go from 0 to 60 in 5 seconds, but by trying to go from 0 to 5mph in a day or two. That’s doable. It’s all about baby steps. Once you get going, you’re golden.

Be accountable. Laziness, the second culprit, is beat by a bit of public pressure. We all get lazy from time to time (or, to be more honest, all the time), and there’s nothing wrong with that. But to beat laziness, we must apply a bit of pressure, in the form of accountability. There’s nothing wrong with a little pressure, as long is it’s not overdone. Pressure is a motivating thing, especially when it’s positive. Positive pressure includes encouragement from family or friends, an online forum, a help group in your neighborhood, or the readers of your blog.

Ignore failures — giving in to temptation is OK. We will always give in to temptation. Plan for it, accept it, move on. There’s no need to beat yourself up.

Motivate yourself. Most importantly, you want to really want it. It’s not enough to feel pressure to do something — you have to really desire it. I mean, really desire it, not just think it’s something you should do, or that you’ll be a better person for doing it. If pressure gives you the push toward your goal, motivation gives you the pull.


Over the course of the next couple of days, we'll come up with ways to make your do-good ideas stick. Get ready.

You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; and just so you learn to love God and man by loving. Begin as a mere apprentice and the very power of love will lead you on to become a master of the art.

St. Francis De Sales
17th Century Bishop of Geneva

1 comment:

Jordan said...

What a wonderful sumation. If people would stop and appreciate the little things in life, they would understand that the gift of life is just "Living".