Want to Make or Break a Habit? Stop Negotiating with Yourself

Years ago, I wanted to start exercising before work.

Despite my best intentions (and my love of physical activity), I would lay in bed every morning negotiating with myself while hitting the snooze button.

It sounded something like this:

“I really should get up and work out. 

Or…I could sleep for another hour and exercise tonight.

Maybe I should just do it tomorrow morning.

Better yet, I’ll do it tonight and tomorrow morning!

No, I will feel much better if I do it now.

But, my bed is so warm and cozy!

Ugh, I need to get up and just do it.

I will, I will…after just one more round of snoozing.

Shoot, now there’s not enough time to work out.

I guess I’ll do it tonight.

Who am I kidding? That will never happen. I'm always too tired after work.

Tomorrow, I swear I’ll get up tomorrow."

A Non-Negotiable
This painful process wasted a lot of time and mental energy.

On the many days I chose my bed over my running shoes, I felt bad about myself and my lack of willpower.

Then one day I had a light-bulb moment.

I decided that I would no longer decide.

Working out in the morning would no longer be negotiable. There would be no more debating. It would just be what I do.

Freedom from Decision-Making
Although it may seem counterintuitive, removing the decision-making was extremely freeing.

Eliminating the option to choose enabled me to put my time and energy toward more important, meaningful and rewarding pursuits.

I no longer had to rely on my limited willpower to make the right decision.

I stopped driving myself crazy with my fruitless, draining negotiating.

My a.m. workout became part of my morning routine, just like brushing my teeth.

My new habit felt so good, I never reverted to my old negotiating ways.

What Can You Make Non-Negotiable?
If you’re striving to make or break a habit, how can you remove the decision-making process?

What would happen if you made a desired behavior—like going to bed an hour earlier, taking your lunch to work, or meditating daily—non-negotiable? 

What if it became something you just do?