A few weeks ago, we sent out a WhatsApp message to about 1000 people. We asked them to share with us one habit that they had at some point, then gave up on, and would want to restart. We received 133 responses. It was quite overwhelming to know that so many of us want to restart something or the other. But we haven’t.
Almost every one I meet has one grouse with themselves - "If only I could be more consistent at…"
Here’s what happens. I begin with a lot of enthusiasm. There are two scenarios - either I continue for a few days or weeks and then give up, or it becomes an on going habit lasting months or years.
Inevitably, a day comes when we stop. One day become two, two becomes a week, a week becomes a month. This happens multiple times, with multiple things. Every time it happens, our inner voices yells out at us "You are not consistent. You start and stop things. Forget it." The guilt piles up. We beat ourselves up.
The guilt of having stopped makes us over-cautious. We can’t bear starting something and then having to stop it again. The pain of failing once again is greater than the determination to restart.
Three months ago I stopped gymming. I had had a successful streak of over a year. Now there is a kind of ‘funk’ that has built up inside me. Will I be able to do it again? It’s preventing me from getting off my butt.
Lately I’ve been cycling to work. But everyday I’m afraid - how long is this going to last!
Here’s what I’m telling myself now - screw the guilt! If I stop, I’ll just start again. As easy as that!
Here is some analysis of the responses we received to our message. It screams out one thing at all of us - You are not alone! Just #reSTART