A great piece on Leo Babauta on something he calls the “habit dip”:
This dip is something everyone faces when changing habits: we lose motivation, we get discouraged, we encounter difficulty, we lose focus because other things get in the way, we get sidetracked by life.
This is something I’ve found to be a challenge not just in building new habits, but in in creative and business ventures too. At some point your initial momentum starts to fade, the project still doesn’t have enough momentum to move under its own weight yet, and the temptation to stop pushing, or at least to stop pushing as hard, becomes increasingly difficult to resist.
As Leo points out, this is is also an important opportunity for learning and growth. Ultimately, dips are inevitable in life, no matter what we’re doing. Each time we face one, we teach ourselves to get better at overcoming them, or we each ourselves that giving up is the best option.
When things are going well, everything seems easy, and you just have to keep doing the same thing. There isn’t a lot of learning there.
But when things are hard, you have to face the difficulty if you want to keep going, if you want to avoid going to your usual pattern of discouraging yourself or quitting.
The dip is where the most learning can be found.
That’s not to say that we should never give up, but to say that the temptation to do so should be treated with suspicion. Sometimes the dip truly is because what we’re doing isn’t working, but sometimes, it’s a sign that another peak is just around the bend.
We all have the feeling that we could be doing more from time to time. It’s this guilty little monster that glares at us from the gap between what we are doing and what we have the potential to do.
But it’s even worse when somebody else succeeds by doing something we believe we could have done just as well ourselves if only we’d taken the time to do so. So how do we find that time? Derek Sivers shares his thoughts about that here. This paragraph hit especially hard:
It takes many hours to make what you want to make. The hours don’t suddenly appear. You have to steal them from comfort. Whatever you were doing before was comfortable. This is not. This will be really uncomfortable.