Unveiling the Power of Habits: The Key to Sustainable Progress

Article Summary

In this enlightening exploration, the article delves into the contrasting dynamics of motivation and habits, shedding light on the pivotal role of habits in shaping our lives. Emphasizing the inherent challenges of sustaining motivation over the long term, it underscores how habits, being more automatic and ingrained, offer a more reliable path to consistent progress. Drawing on compelling insights from 'Atomic Habits' by James Clear, the article articulates how small habitual improvements accumulate into substantial long-term changes, facilitating lasting success. By highlighting the indispensable role of action in translating motivation into tangible results, the article underscores the transformative power of cultivating positive habits as a driver of meaningful achievement.

What is motivation? This term motivation describes the reason why a person is doing something. This can be regarded as the driving force behind our actions, why we act in the first place. Motivation initiates, guides, and maintains a goal-oriented behaviors. This is the reason why we get up each morning and get to do work.

What are habits? This is defined as a usual way of behaving, something that a person does regularly and in a repeated way. Habits are the things we do without even think about them, some habits are also involuntary. We do not have to think, or rather think of how to do something, we just do it, often because we are used to doing it, that it has become a part of who we are, woven in the fabric of our being.

List of good habits

Now, by considering the two definitions, which is easy to come by? Is it easy for one to pursue habits or building the motivation for doing something? Which one needs constant maintaining, such that it requires effort? The answer to these questions is habits are much easier to come by than staying motivated to doing something. Now, in this article we will decipher how our habits affect us, and why is staying motivated not always an answer towards achieving our goals.

Habits shape our Lives

We are who we are today because of our habits. Our current life circumstance is linked to various habits we have. Our net worth is a consequence of our financial habits, our body weight is linked to eating habits, our knowledge is linked to our learning habits. Broadly speaking, habits shape our lives, and we are where we are today because of the habits we have.

Also, it can be said that mostly we believe habits is only what we do, but the things we do not do can also be considered habits. For example, if the answer to having good financial prospects relies on our reading and educating ourselves about finances, yet we do not do any reading, research, or learning of any kind, that shapes our lives such that we do will not realize a prosperous financial future. This is because we have a habit of not reading books or not learning generally. This could be because we do not like books, meaning not reading is also a habit.

Habits determine the quality of our lives

On the other hand, motivation can only take us so far. This is because motivation is not done on autopilot, while habits are. We constantly need to think of the reason why we must do something, and sometimes, if not most times, habits overtake motivation. That is why some people revert to their old habits of not eating well, or procrastination. Habits can be done on autopilot, we do not need to think about them, while motivation is more like a flame, a flame we need to constantly fuel, so that it keeps on burning, meaning it requires effort. It is much easier to do something we do not have to think about than it is to do something that requires effort.

What we do consistently affects us more than what we do for some time

As highlighted previously, habits are much easy to do because often we do not need to constantly bring ourselves up to doing them, while motivation is more like a burning flame, we need to constantly fuel this fire for us to stay motivated. Now, doing something we are used to is much easier because requires little to no effort from our part, we just do it.

That is why when we read Atomic Habits by James Clear, we understand that tiny improvements amass to great results over time. If we make a habit of improving ourselves bit by bit, the more we will change for the better over time. Motivation is only a temporary to a big problem we have and temporary fixes never last for a long time. Imagine someone who is addicted to doing coke. This person can be doing this for the rest of their lives unless they are fully resolved to let go of that habit. Same applies to success habits, a person who has built success habits over time, turns to become addicted to success that after achieving a goal, they are ready for their next fix, which is their next milestone. This is the power of habits. Motivation on the other side is only temporary. No one can truly be successful because motivation alone is not enough, but good habits alone can make one see some degree of success if not all degree of success.

It is very hard to stay motivated than it is to observe our habits because motivation is never permanent. For us to stay motivated for a long time, we need to constantly remind ourselves of the reasons, which is essentially motivation, meaning for us to stay motivated we need more and more motivation. When are we to just stop seeking motivation and just do what we are supposed to do? Would it not be better to just do something without thinking about it? Which is where building good habits comes in. With motivation, we feel energized during the moment, but as soon as things cool down, we turn to return to the adverse realities of our own lives.

Without action, motivation is nothing

The reality is, for us to achieve our goals, we need to act consistently and progress towards those goals by taking actions. Without actions, there will be no results. Motivation without any action or momentum towards the goal is just hype, just a positive feeling.

We must take action and to achieve different results

Now, if for us to realize our goals is all about taking definite steps towards our goals, would it not make sense to build habits that will impel us towards our goals, since habits are already linked to actions? Which is better to maintain? Motivation, which still needs to be coupled with actions to be effective, or good habits already linked to actions to move forward towards the goal? The answer is obvious, it is in us maintaining the momentum by ensuring we build good habits to move us towards the goal.

Even world’s great motivational speakers sometimes fail to reach their goals, this should tell us that motivation alone cannot guarantee our success, thus we need to take definite steps towards our goals to realize them.

With all said, it is good and wonderful to be motivated to something, but we must not only rely on motivation, rather cultivate good habits that support our purpose or purpose in life. In doing so, we set ourselves up for success, because success requires consistency and discipline. Let us set out to build good habits towards objectives we set for ourselves. Whatever we do must support what is predominantly our goal and purpose in life.

Remember these words, motivation gets us started, habits keep us going.