Motivation vs Inspiration: How Habits Change

Motivation vs Inspiration
Mar 2024

I’ve been in conversations with myself and individuals who want to start or change a habit.  A new habit could be making three business development calls per day, going to bed at a certain time, or regular exercise each week. Getting out of a habit is essentially adopting a new habit – when you go to the fridge for a snack, you reach for the water pitcher instead.  Most programs designed to help you solidify a new habit typically suggest it takes a certain number of days or a number of times you need to will yourself to do something until you ‘just do it’ regularly.

Starting or changing a habit from the level of behaviour modification can be a hard slog. Willpower only works for a time before we cave to our old ways. It ignores the logic behind why you do what you do in the first place, and therefore naturally resists change. You are only ever acting on what seems logical in the moment. You mean to go to bed but you want to read your book because you “deserve time to yourself’ or some such idea.

Real, sustainable change occurs through insight – a new perspective or take on something. The habit changes because you see yourself or a situation differently. You might even see through the illogic of your logic for staying with the status quo.  I once coached a golfer who kept missing short puts. When he looked more deeply into the situation, he realized he was unconsciously missing puts because he was a better golfer than his buddies and he didn’t want to beat them every time. In the moment, it ‘made sense’ to miss the putt. 

Change comes from inspiration or intuition – when you ‘see’ what’s behind your choices, you can create change automatically.  A higher-level perspective brings new understanding, new thinking and an opportunity to adopt new habits that just make sense.  

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