“But I hate changing!” Cannon said this afternoon to my Mom who was asking him to change out of his church clothes before he ate lunch. Cannon is 9 years old, and sometimes it’s hard to get him to do anything that sounds like work, and for him that includes changing.
I don’t like changing very much either. It always feels like such a process, even though it really doesn’t take that long. It’s kind of like going to bed for me. I remember when I was a kid, just standing at the bottom of the stairs, looking up at what felt like Mount Everest. Each step would sometimes take me 5 minutes, and then halfway up I’d take a 30 minute nap before finishing the journey, and then I’d have to brush my teeth and change into my pajamas before crawling into bed.
Now, in my apartment I don’t have any stairs where I live and it actually makes it a lot easier to go to bed. Only having to walk a few steps from the living room to the bathroom, and then to my bed, makes the whole process seem a lot more like a walk in the park.
Who cares? Why do I tell these stories?
I tell them because if you want to develop a habit, it’s helpful if you make the process as easy and efficient as possible. Especially the parts about it you don’t like.
Want to eat a healthier breakfast? Try overnight oats, that way you don’t have to make the decision in the morning when you’re choosing between pouring an easy bowl of sugar cereal or having to go through the process of making oatmeal. The decision will already be made.
Want to train more? Lay out your kit and fill up your bottles in the morning, lube your chain and check tire pressure the night before. That way when you get home from a long day of work, getting out the door will be that much easier.
Doing simple things like these will make it easier to form a habit. And then once the habit is made you won’t even have to think about it. If Cannon had a habit of changing right when he got home from church on Sunday, it wouldn’t need to be a conversation and a struggle every time he was wearing something that was difficult to wash.
At the end of the day, there will always be processes that we go through that may not be our favorite. It’s even possible that like Cannon we’ll hate them. So make them as easy and efficient as possible so the suffering is minimized.