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Why Knowing Your Why is Critical to Successful Habit Formation

Why Knowing Your Why is Critical to Successful Habit Formation

Doing something as simple as writing down your why can make a huge difference in successful habit formation.

Forming new habits can sound easy on paper, but it’s a lot harder than you might think in practice. As people, we are very set in our ways. After a long time of doing something a certain way, it can often be challenging to change that habit. This is even true if you’re replacing it with a better habit or something that is overall good. An effective way to successfully form new habits is to focus on the why and think about why you started this habit in the first place. 

Related: How Long Does It Really Take To Create A New Habit

Your why will motivate you when it’s hard

Your why isn’t going to be a motivator necessarily when things are easy. When you first try to lose weight and give up soda, you aren’t feeling the caffeine withdrawals yet. Making the switch to water will feel easy at first. The reason why is there when things start to get hard, and you want to change what you’re doing or have a “cheat day.” Your why is there to motivate you to stay the course.

If your why is powerful enough, it can keep you on track

If you want to save more money, have your why be something like so you can retire early or finally go on that vacation, your dreams can make that goal something visual. Each decision you make could derail that progress will visualize that goal slipping away from you and make it more difficult to turn back. Your why has to be powerful enough that the risk of not doing it has a real consequence.

Knowing your why makes it easier to stick

If you try to form a new habit that is completely different from what you usually do, you might start to forget why you are doing it after a while. If you start running but don’t know why you’re doing it, you might start to question why you’re putting in all this effort. When you have a why, such as an upcoming 5k or because you want to be healthier, it makes it easier to form that habit because you have a reason for doing the hard task.

Just doing it isn’t enough motivation

There is a saying that goes something like this: “if there is a will, there is a way.” If you tell yourself, you’re just going to stop eating out, which will likely fail. Why? After all, you said you were going to stop doing it. Well, the tricky part is that just doing it isn’t going to be motivating. When it’s 8 pm, and you still haven’t started dinner, a drive-thru is going to start looking very appealing. If you have a because you have to attitude, it will likely come back and bite you in the butt.

Forming new habits is hard, but anything you can do to make it easier will pay off in the long run. Doing something as simple as writing down your why can make a huge difference in forming new habits.

Now that you know your why, check out these other ideas too!

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