I recently finished reading the book “Magic Words” by Jonah Berger, and he had some great insights in there. I have other posts to share later, but one big thing that hit me was taking the time to sort out the things you “can’t” do and the things you “don’t” do.
In Jonah’s words:
Having a tough time sticking with that New Year’s resolution? Struggling to stick to a goal? Try saying “I don’t” rather than “I can’t.”
The example often given is around food. “I can’t eat cake today, as I’m watching what I eat” sets you up for a fight against yourself versus a simple declaration of “I don’t eat cake“. If done right, it makes decisions much easier, because certain things are framed as things that are simply who you are, rather than a choice that you have to make.
For me, I can see where various things in my life fall into both groups.
- Blog every day.
- Study at least a bit of Anki every day.
- Do at least one lesson from Duolingo every day.
On the other hand, there are things that I do regularly, but not necessarily every day:
- I can work out daily.
- I can read daily.
Neither of those make it every day, and I’m ok with that. For example, as of this writing I have a very early (and going to a very late) day tomorrow, so I won’t work out in the morning. I can work out tomorrow, if I was willing to stretch my day longer, but I won’t. However, I “do” blog every day, so that will happen regardless. It’s almost like it’s not my choice — it’s just what I do — and that’s the power of the words.
For now, knowing that I simply “don’t” miss a day of those things make them very easy to slip into my daily routine.