Every once in a while, an old back injury of mine flares up with excruciating pain, wrecking my workout routine for a week or two. And once the routine is broken, the momentum is gone.
With every passing day, you feel even more like a failure, and your strength declines. Getting back to your peak fitness feels impossible and one day, you give up.
This is how habits die.
Yet, I have found a way to keep my workout habit alive for more than a decade. And the solution is not to ‘try harder,’ but to change our thinking.
The breaking of routine is not the real problem — it is just a temporary deviation. Why not get back on track the next day? The real problem is that our mind labels it as a failure, and guilt and dejection weaken us.
Furthermore, when getting back on track, we try to reach our peak fitness in one go. In fact, I once injured my shoulder doing that. Not needed.
The solution is simple: Tell yourself that as long as you are striving to get back on track, you have not failed. You only fail when you quit. And always restart small and then ramp up.
That is how I know that any habit I build will never break. And it needs no super-human willpower.
I talk more about this idea in this video.