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Build Habits in Joy > Pain

Painted smiley face on cement with white shoes

Humans are motivated by joy.

Joy is one of our deepest longings and one that drives our behavior. Even cravings are driven by joy – even if it is temporary or momentary joy. Yet, we often take the things we want to do and package them up in things we hate. And then we question why they didn’t stick.

The truth is, you can’t beat your body into submission, and you certainly can’t expect yourself to keep doing things you hate. Our body is designed to avoid pain, not walk right into it.

While pain is a good variable to change it’s not required. The good news is, you can change without pain and that comes from joy.

Joy is an underlying desire and craving of the human soul.

It takes the things you want and turns them into a lifestyle. When you desire things, you do them, and the more consistent you are, the more likely you will see results. This is the power of working with your mind.

You Can’t Hate Yourself Healthy.

Most of us have strong feelings about exercise, so let’s use that as an example.

The research never changes. Moving your body is essential to health. If we want to live out of health, we have to move. But you know that. And you’ve been told to do it by everyone in the health space. But that doesn’t change the fact that you hate it.

Or at least hate the choice of exercise you’ve done in the past.

But you keep setting the goal. You keep setting your alarm, hoping it will finally be the morning you get up and knock out the workout. Maybe you even paid for the yearly subscription to that online workout program, but you haven’t once logged in.

We’ve all been there. But we can’t stay there.
And the answer may be more enjoyable than you thought possible.

Instead of fixating on what you hate, you started to focus on things that brought you joy—mixing what you love with what you need to do to live in health.

This is what I call the joy-meter score.

The Joy-Meter Score

The joy-meter score is a system of rating the activities, hobbies, habits, and goals based on the level of joy it brings you. It’s a made-up metric that you determine based on your feelings.

What we’re all after more than a destination is a feeling we believe the destination will bring.

You’re longing for a feeling, most likely joy that you believe will happen when you reach your goal. But you don’t have to wait to feel the way you want to feel. And you can use that feeling to drive the results.

Those things that bring you the most joy also produce the most desire – making you want to come back for more.

So if you’re having trouble sticking to your goals or building new habits, maybe it’s time to go back to this scale and understand where they fall.
Choosing to do more of what fills you with joy, at least to start with.

Put it To Work

If we go back to exercise, something we should all be doing. Ask what type of movement brings you the most joy? Do you like workout classes or solo routines? Do you like to workout in the morning or afternoon?

Make it your goal to figure out a workout plan that brings you joy. Not stay stuck trying to complete something you hate.

The same principle holds true for anything you want to become better at. There will always be challenging tasks and necessary things that carry you to the goal. But that doesn’t mean you can’t stack those things with other things that bring you joy.

Joy creates the desire to give you the motivation and energy to do the hard things.

Go through your list of healthy habits you want to set and rate them on the joy-meter scale. If they don’t bring you joy, is there a way to change them so that it does?

  • If you’re struggling to do something you know you should, how can you make it more joy-filled?
  • If it’s that morning workout – maybe inviting a friend to get involved will bring you the joy to keep going.
  • If it’s the morning devotional time, you’ve struggled through, set up a comfy location and sip on a warm drink.

More than the activity, it’s the experience that brings us joy. Let that be fuel to live your life and watch as the things you once felt like you “had-to-do” become things you “want-to” do.

Desire is birthed from joy. You can find joy in anything if you have to be willing to look for it.

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