To truly organize your life, embrace your natural inclinations

Organizing your life, building better habits and routines can quickly become a self-defeating process. “I should wake up at 5 am every day.” “I should go to the gym every day.”

When new habits become a burden and a huge disruption to your self-improvement process, two things are bound to happen: you will give up at some point because it’s not sustainable, and you can easily get burned out or stressed throughout the process.

To truly organize your life, be realistic about yourself and embrace what you can conceivably commit to for the long haul. Naval Ravikant, co-founder of AngelList once tweeted, “When building habits, choose consistency over the content.

The best book is the one you can’t put down. The best exercise is the one you enjoy doing every day. The best health food is the one you find tasty. The best work is the work you’d do for free.”

It’s profound. Being authentic to yourself makes everything easier.

When you choose to organize every area of your life — work, health, finance, relationships etc., it pays to find and follow what brings genuine satisfaction, completion, or fulfillment.

Or what can easily become the new normal. Pursuing ‘fulfilled-centered life’ changes how you start and build better habits.

If you constantly feel exhausted by everything, you might be pushing yourself towards burn out.

Natural inclinations appear in many different ways — some can happen automatically, others require learning to manifest themselves, some may only appear in response to certain situations, and others change with age.

If you hate going to the gym, use a different approach you enjoy that can still guarantee the same results. If you don’t enjoy reading, choose books you enjoy or listen to podcasts and watch insightful documentaries.

By opting for habits you can easily embrace, you can save yourself the time of trying to do something that probably won’t stick.

Most people want to create big change as quickly as possible. They want to go from zero to four exercise sessions every week, switch to a healthy diet overnight, and read for an hour every day even though they’ve barely managed 5 minutes in the past.

If you want to succeed with your personal goals, choose one or two key areas of focus that align with what really matters to you — what you deeply care about. What excites you.

What makes you come alive. And then begin the process with a ridiculously small step or action.

People have different preferences, so make a list of the specific activities that make you the happiest.

Maybe your list includes exercise, journaling, going on walks, reading, and spending quality time with the people you care about. Clarity on what you want is the first step.

Once you know what you want, you can schedule it and take small actions every day to slowly make the new routine part of your life.

Instead of doing fifty pushups per day, start with five. Instead of switching to a new diet, add a healthy option to your dinner.

It is important to be clear about what you want. Be very specific about it. Only set goals if they give you life. Good goals provide direction to your life. They allow you to commit to a journey.

You don’t want to start with something too ambitious — you need to establish some confidence in the beginning. Once you are on the path of better habits, you can improve or do more what’s working — you adjust and continue to learn more about yourself, but always expanding off your foundation.

For every habit, you want to adopt, make sure that the lifestyle you want to design can continue to operate past the first few weeks, otherwise you may find yourself crawling away from the crater that was your master plan with less than you started out with.

“In many areas of life, there is a magical zone of long-term growth: Pushing enough to make progress, but not so much that it is unsustainable, ” argues James Clear, author of Atomic Habits.

It is better to make small progress every day than to do as much as humanly possible in one day and quit.

“Change is not a one-time explosion of opportunity. It is a slow-burning fire that needs to be tended constantly,” says Jason Harvey, in his book, Achieve Anything In Just One Year: Be Inspired Daily to Live Your Dreams and Accomplish Your Goals.

Organize your life and life well for your own sake, not because it works for someone you admire. Aiming for someone’s idea efficiency or productivity is the best way to make yourself miserable.

This article first appeared on Medium.