Oliver Burkeman, in his latest newsletter, suggests that sometimes the goal of habit formation gets in the way of just doing what would be good to do:
You want to become, say, the kind of person who meditates, or writes or makes videos or podcasts on a regular basis, or finds more time for your kids – and so you conclude, understandably enough, that what’s needed is to develop certain good habits in those areas. The trouble is that “developing good habits” all too easily gets in the way of just doing the damn thing now.
He’s suggesting that the goal of developing good habits can get in the way of simply doing the thing that would be great to do. We’re so focussed on becoming a runner, say, that we miss the moment, right now, to simply go for a run.
None of this to say there isn’t a place for building good habits. But it’s a good reminder to not let habit formation become a barrier to making a good choice in the here and now.
Don’t worry about establishing a journalling habit, why not just write in your journal now?
You don’t have to get distracted by a healthier eating goal; what healthy food could you have for your next meal?
Who knows, spend enough time just doing it, and you may accidentally end up with a habit anyway.
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