You know I’m all about making healthy fun, right? And that’s because when we’re at our healthiest, we should be feeling good and ready for ALL the fun that life has to offer. So why can’t getting to our healthiest be the same?
I think it should (obviously!), and in order to have the fun, it can’t be hard.
It seems obvious, but when things are hard and we don’t succeed at them, we don’t like doing them – it’s human nature!
When have you ever tried an activity and been terrible at it and thought to yourself, “man, that sure was fun!”? NEVER.
And that’s ok! That’s how us humans work – we tend to enjoy things we’re good at, things we can be successful at, and things that are fun! Those are the things that are easy for us.
We’re Also Lazy
In addition to being drawn to things that are easy for us, we’re also naturally lazy. It’s an evolutionary thing that we just can’t help. We’re designed to save calories and survive on this Earth.
So when things are super easy, our lazy selves are more likely to do them (hello, brain hack!).
This is where some of the principles of last week’s article come into play, specifically BJ Fogg’s ability component and James Clear’s law to make it easy.
The ability component of a habit or behavior comes down to if you have the actual ability to do the desired behavior. For example, can you run a marathon? Or can you walk for two minutes? And which are you more likely to do?
Two minutes, duh!
And the easier things are, the more ability we have to do them. This helps lower the motivation factor of a habit (another anatomy part of a habit). The higher the ability, the lower our motivation can be for us to still do a desired behavior.
Keeping with my previous example, running a marathon is really hard, so it requires a very high amount of motivation to run a marathon. Most of us would need a big ‘why’ to complete a marathon.
In contrast, walking for two minutes is super easy so the motivation to do it can be significantly lower than it would need to be for a marathon. See what I mean here? They’re inverse.
Because our motivation comes and goes (some days we’re gung-ho to be healthy, other days you can’t get to the Reese’s fast enough) so the easier the behaviors we have, the less we have to rely on motivation to get the job done.
Specifically when it comes to health, we have to pick things that are easy because we’re not good at planning for the future/taking care of our future selves (there’s that lazy thing rearing its ugly head again).
But luckily for us, once we deliberately begin some of these super easy habits, we get better and better at them, and our “what’s easy” scale starts sliding over. This means that as we continue with our behavior change, what’s not-so-easy now may be one of our super easy things in 6 weeks or 6 months.
So as our initially super easy habits build and get us a little healthier, we can then move on to the next version of what’s super easy at that time and continue getting a little bit healthier still.
And the pattern continues, and our super easy habits get us all the way to healthy without us even realizing it because the whole time it seemed, well, easy!
Back to our marathon example, I bet when I was talking about it before you said to yourself, “yeah, but there are people who run marathons all the time!” (And if you weren’t saying it to yourself, I was saying it to myself anyways.)
But that’s because to those people, marathons ARE easy. They didn’t start there, of course not! But they worked their way up as their perspective of what’s easy shifted.
It’s just like last month when I did a 100 mile month – when I started the month, a 5k (3.1 miles) was a long run for me and I rarely did them. When I ended the month, I was averaging a 5k per day so my “what’s easy” scale did a massive shift over the course of a month.
Had you asked me at the beginning of the month though, I would have told you that it would seem crazy that a 5k was just an every day run. But now, since my scale shifted, I can continue building my habits toward that healthy version of me that I’m envisioning for my future. And all without being aware of those changes in real time.
So, use these examples and find a habit you want to start that’s SOOOO easy that you’ll do it even on your lowest motivation and laziest days. And then be amazed as your “what’s easy” scale begins to shift.