Sometimes the ideal way to take on a new habit or goal is trying the complete opposite of what you imagine is the best approach.
Photo by Nicholas Eckhart
When you're putting a puzzle together, you sometimes have to flip the piece in order for it to fit — even if you were convinced it would go in the first way you tried it. Gretchen Rubin at weblog The Happiness Project suggests turning your approach around if something doesn't work the first way you try it:
I see this principle over and over in the area of habit-formation. People assume that one way is the "right" way, even if they aren't getting good results. Instead, it's helpful to think — well, what I'm doing isn't working, so I'll turn it around.
I'm trying to start small, but it's not working — so start big. Or vice versa.
I'm trying to follow a new habit first thing in the morning, but it's not working — so try later in the day. Or vice versa.
I'm trying to be moderate, but it's not working — so abstain altogether. Or vice versa.
We're told constantly that there is a right way to do everything. The truth is you need to know what fits you the best. Trying to force yourself to do something one way — the way you assume is the right way — may not line up with your personal preferences, personality quirks, and lifestyle. Other people might get up earlier and get extra work done, but for you, it might be better to stay up later and do extra work then. There is no silver bullet to any goal or habit formation, so flip your approaches around until you find the best fit for you.