I’ve heard that it takes twenty-one days to make a habit, so I decided to try it out myself. I eventually decided to make the habit of exercising, specifically cardio. Exercise for me is one of those things that I know makes me happier and makes me feel better but I always come up with excuses not to do it because, quite honestly, after working sitting on the couch watching tv with my family or reading a book in bed sounds a lot more appealing than going for a run. So I got to thinking: how do I get myself to do the things that I don’t really want to do? The twenty-one day idea sounded like a good start.

I am now on day twelve, but when I sat down to write this blog, I found with the help of google that the idea of it taking twenty-one days to form a habit is actually a myth. I kind of felt ripped off that I was more than half way through of what was supposed to be the formation of a habit of exercise. And then I sat down and thought: maybe it wasn’t all for nothing. Because when I contemplated not going out running for the night, two questions popped into my head. And now with further thought, these questions are ones that are essential in getting people to do things that they don’t really want to do.

  1. How are you going to feel after you do the thing you don’t want to do?
  2. How are you going to feel if you don’t do the thing you don’t want to do?

How do I feel after I exercise? I feel proud of myself. I just went out and exercised. I did it even though I don’t like exercising.

However, it is the second question that I believe to be the more important question. How would I feel if I didn’t go out and exercise one day? After all, I am more than halfway through my goal. When I asked myself that question today, I felt motivated again. It was a way to get me out off the sofa and out of the house. If I gave up today, if I had given up after even one day or five days, I would feel like crap and bad about myself. Both of those are enough motivators to get out out doing whatever it is I should be doing.

Doing things that can make you feel better about yourself isn’t just limited to healthy habits like exercising. You could make a special effort to say hi to everybody at work. You could make one more sales call every day, you could even interact more with your family. It’s not up to me to decide! Take the time to think to yourself about an action that will have an impact on yourself and those around you, and then ask yourself how you are going to feel after you do it and how you would feel if you didn’t do it. Those two questions are important!

Brad Montgomery is a professional motivator and speaker who uses various formats to engage audiences, including keynotes, break-outs, and more to different associations around the country. If you need a person who can connect with your audience, then Brad is your guy. He will make your audience laugh while teaching them valuable techniques increase productivity in the office. Call or email for a free consultation today!

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