What you are going to learn:
- Why Habits are so Powerful and Potentially Dangerous
- The Three Elements of a Habit
- How a Better Understanding of Habits can Help Us Replace Bad Habits with Good Ones
- A Simple Approach to Overcoming our Natural Resistance to Change
- Why We Often Blame our Lack of Willpower when it is usually our Lack of Commitment that is to Blame
People often say that change is difficult, and they are correct. Change is difficult, but we are all capable of change. Our lives are continually changing, learning to drive, marriage, having children, new job responsibilities, and new technological tools. Initiation is the most challenging phase of any change because when we are learning to perform new tasks, it is mentally exhausting. Learning to perform a new activity requires our cerebral cortex (“Conscious Brain”) to do the heavy lifting.
As the new task becomes routine, the more resilient basal ganglia, (“subconscious brain’), takes over. The action becomes easier and easier to perform. Our conscious brain essentially goes on autopilot, and the actions flow almost effortlessly. You undoubtedly experienced this when you were learning to drive. In the beginning, it required all of your mental focus, but now you can drive, adjust the cabin temperature, tune the radio, carry on a conversation, and heaven forbid, use your smartphone while driving.
Change is possible, but it starts with awareness. The hardest part of creating a change in behavior is just not repeating the behaviors of the past. Approximately 40 to 45% of the decisions we make are out of habit.[i] Unfortunately, these aren’t conscious decisions. These are decisions our conscious brain has delegated to the subconscious brain. Our subconscious mind controls the performance of repetitive daily activities which frees our conscious mind from making countless decisions each day, which would lead to decision fatigue and mental exhaustion. For this reason, we aren’t mindful of actions we have repeated enough times to make them habits.
Continue reading “CHANGE IS DIFFICULT, BUT WITH THE RIGHT STRATEGIES AND A LITTLE MOTIVATION, WE ARE ALL CAPABLE OF GREAT CHANGE”
One of the most potent strategies for reaching a goal is to identify the obstacles ahead of time and to develop a plan to address each before they are encountered. We want to be optimistic, but we don’t want to be a naive optimist. The naive optimist ignores the obstacles in their way and believes that they will not confront any challenges while striving to accomplish their goal. The realistic optimist believes in their ability to accomplish their goal despite the obstacles in their way. They acknowledge and prepare for the obstacles which makes them much more likely to achieve their goal. We want to have faith in our ability to overcome obstacles, not naively believe we won’t encounter them.
Research shows that predicting how and when you might be tempted to break a resolution increases the chances that you will keep it.[i]When you are working on developing a daily discipline, ask yourself: “When am I most likely to be tempted to give in? What situation is most likely to get me sidetracked? What excuses will I give myself to procrastinate?” Once you have such a scenario mapped out in your mind, imagine yourself in that situation, what it will feel like, and what you might be thinking? If we are struggling to form a habit, it shouldn’t be difficult to imagine what situations will cause us to slip off our path, because these situations must have occurred for us to be struggling with forming the habit now. Continue reading “BECOME A REALISTIC OPTIMIST”
The next biggest lie about living a disciplined lifestyle is that it requires a marathon of effort. It doesn’t. It only requires you manifest enough discipline and motivation to make the routine a habit. The initial resistance we encounter doesn’t last beyond a couple of months. The authors of The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Truth Behind Extraordinary Results say success is not a marathon of disciplined action. It is a sprint fueled by just enough discipline to build a habit. Habits are harder to start than they are to sustain. The key is to identify the behavior you need to adopt and then work at it long enough to make it a habit.
Continue reading “A DISCIPLINED LIFESTYLE DOESN’T REQUIRE A MARATHON OF EFFORT”
Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions.
Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits.
Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character.
Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.
The biggest lie about discipline is that it is a personality trait. It isn’t. It’s a habit. When you repeat an action enough people will attribute it to your personality. If someone works hard every day, they’ll say she is a hard worker. Our habits are eventually assigned to us as a personality trait, but we weren’t born with them. We developed them through repetition. Habits and routines are what determine what we will achieve in life, that is why they are essential to our success and happiness. The excellent news is that we can choose to form whatever habits we want by shaping our environment to support them. Continue reading “DISCIPLINE IS A HABIT, NOT A PERSONALITY TRAIT”
Motivation is powerful, but unless it is put to work, it is wasted. Motivation is like steam in a boiler. Unless it is driving pistons and producing mechanical work, it is wasted. We want to put our desire to good use by consistently executing the daily actions that will produce results. We don’t want to be merely busy; we want to be productive. I recommend you start each day listening to motivational speeches because it will help keep your motivational tank from running empty. Cultivating motivation daily is easy to do and will drastically improve your outlook on life. We need to develop motivation daily, but more importantly, we need to put it to good use.
Continue reading “MOTIVATION IS LIKE STEAM IN A BOILER”