Signing up for good habits

It’s that time of the year when we make commitments to sign up for good habits. So, we commit to eat healthier, exercise more, read more. And, we do these things to get smarter, fitter and better.

It is important to think of these outcomes when we sign up and plan to do these things. Research on motivation has shown that extrinsic rewards matter when we plan to do things. So, when we’re about to sign up for a job, we think we care about the pay package and the prestige of the job.

However, extrinsic motivators are an illusion. Once we’re in the job, all that matters are the intrinsic motivators – who we work with and what we do. The job isn’t just a route to getting the paycheck. It is what we do – 12 hours a day. And, we better make it good.

Similarly, it is fine to begin signing up for good habits with the smarter, fitter and better outcomes. But, the outcomes are just a side show. For, once we get started, it matters that we re-focus on the process of doing these. And, what we always find is that, virtues aside, eating healthier, exercising and reading more add a tremendous amount of energy and happiness to our day.

It turns out that that good habits are worth doing simply because they’re good.