Changing Habits Requires Motivation

Changing habits is hard. It’s easier the more motivated you are to do it. Tip: be honest about what motivates you.

I was riding in my friend’s car the other day and she mentioned that she was trying to keep her speed down to 55 mph to maximize fuel efficiency. Her car is a Prius, so she’s really into that kind of thing. I
immediately thought, is the speed the same for all cars? How much could I save? What if I went 5 miles over that? I was planning to research it online when I got home.

But then I remembered that I like to drive fast. I know myself well enough that I might try the 55 mph thing for 15 minutes or so, but then I’d start to feel antsy. Then I’d feel deprived. Then I’d start ratiionalizing and making deals with myself so I could resume my previous habit. And resume it I would.

The point is that I am not motivated enough by saving money to reduce my driving speed. I’m just not. This isn’t about what’s right or wrong or black or white or green. It shouldn’t be about guilt or pleasing others either. If you are sincerely gratified by doing your part to save the earth by driving more slowly, by all means do it. Make sure you feel good about it, though.

Trying to change a habit without sufficient motivation that works for you is a recipe for failure. What have you been trying to change that isn’t happening? See if you can discover a real, honest way to motivate yourself to do it, rather than “I should.”

FYI, you can find out more about fuel efficiency here.