Have you ever noticed that getting started with any kind of new habit can feel like a pushing a boulder uphill? You really want to do this thing, but going from the point you are right now, to taking the first step, seems insurmountable. You just can’t motivate yourself to get started. It’s feels kind of like those dreams when you’re trying to run but your legs are moving in slow motion.
I’m happy to say that this struggle is not just you (or me). It can actually be described with science. In chemistry, there is a scientific term called, activation energy. Activation energy is the minimum amount of energy required to create a chemical reaction. What does that have to do with making new habits? It’s the same principle used to push yourself to leap out of bed at first sound of the alarm, rather than hit the snooze button.
Here’s another example: Consider the good ol’ baking soda and vinegar science experiment. You know, the one where you make a little tin foil volcano and fill it with baking soda, then pour in the vinegar and watch the foam erupt? The initial chemical reaction between the foam and the vinegar, is activation energy; the minimum amount of energy required for the reaction to occur.
Now, flash back to the other day when your alarm went off and you wanted to hit the snooze button. Maybe you had already hit it several times and now you are getting into the red zone of being late for work. Or what about that new exercise program that you were so excited about when you signed up online? Now it’s day one and you really don’t feel like pressing play. What if you threw back the covers and jumped to your feet? What if you pressed play and powered through your workout. Vividly imagine that feeling of empowerment if you were to have plenty of extra time in the morning because you got up on time. Focus on how you will feel after your workout is DONE, and you can move on with your day. That’s activation energy.
It only takes 5 seconds to create a new habit
It only takes 5 seconds to use your activation energy to push through and do it anyway. Once you take that action, it’s all downhill from there. You just have to make a move… immediately.
Taking that action within 5 seconds is a habit that can be developed. You can do it! When it comes to making massive habit changes in our lives, whether it’s waking up on time, exercising, eating right, doing your homework, or completing that project you’ve been dreading, activation energy is what you must push through to get started. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. But you have a choice to focus on avoiding the temporary pain of the push, or enjoying the long-term pleasure of overcoming and reaping rewards! The choice is yours.
Your confidence will grow with each time you push through. Your comfort zone will expand and you will open the door to a world of opportunity! What are you going to push through today?