I've done self-development for a while now, and I must say, I love making new habits. The fact is, you can influence yourself to do whatever you want, and stick to it. Once we understand habit govern us, we can take control over our lives. It's pretty much magic, I'm serious. We all have those things we want to do but we never have the courage to pursue. We know we should eat better and start working out, we know we should read this dusty book on the shelf we never opened. We know we should turn off the tv and put the smartphone away for a while. Unfortunately, we never find the courage to do it. It’s because this needs too much effort. It’s too long or too difficult to achieve. We watch this thirty-eight-pack model on Instagram and we talk down to ourselves.
Man, I’ll never get this sexy and healthy body
Quick insta-debunk before we get into it :
The majority of « Instagram models » are fake, men or women. They all resort to surgery and steroids, big time. They’ll deny these two facts for obvious reasons. Roids are illegal. They have to protect their « natural body » image to sell you stuff you don’t need and they have to keep sponsors around.
They are using photoshop more than we know, distorting your way of seeing how a human body looks like.
Having a six-pack, a super booty or big arms doesn’t mean you are healthy, far from it. They have to focus on what is exterior and what you can see because their body is the product. Thus they won’t work deep muscles, the ones you cannot see and they’re the most important. So don’t compare yourself to people who use cheat codes, even if you will, They made the app this way.
Starting a new habit and keeping it is way more easy than we suppose. Me writing to you is a good example. Today I'm going to propose to you a basic three-step process to create a new habit and stick to it.
Discover your Inner Why
The most important step. It is so obvious we don’t think about it. The first thing to do is knowing why you do it, get it on paper. You have more chance to keep a new habit by knowing why. Today, marketing is always ahead of you and use buzzwords to sell. For example, a « study » showed a habit should take twenty-one days to stick, it’s not the case. Things have to be quick for us today, we want it now. That’s where you get the « Loose forty pounds in thirty days ». Get healthy in only twenty-one days, stupidest thing ever.
« Hello, customer service? I just bought your twenty-one-day Supermax-Healthy-Abs-Diet program. I Would like to know, what happens on the twenty-second? »
That's right, don’t get fooled. If you want a new habit, think with a very long-term mindset. Yes, you can stick to a habit by twenty-one days, but also in three-hundred-twenty-four days, or five days. It depends on too wide characteristics. Who are you? What is the habit? what is your life experience?
We’re going persona on this one :
Eric is a thirty-four-year-old man and the biggest foodie in the world. He enjoys a steak in his meals, a lot. He’s the neighborhood’s barbecue guy after all. One day by the randomness of life, He had to road trip to pick his cousin-in-law. She never sees him and it's her birthday party. His wife’s cousin worked in a slaughterhouse. Eric was so shocked by what he’s seen he stopped eating meat right away and never went back.
See? It wasn’t attended, but Eric loves eating something for thirty-four years and takes the habit to stop it in one day. It depends on way too much characteristic and randomness to focus on how many days you’ll need to get a habit. So don’t focus on the time needed to get it, but on what you want and why. You know you have a good why when you’re ready to do it for the rest of your life.
We are what we do, so focus on why you want to do something to become the person you always aspire to be. Focus on your why.
Start Ridiculously Simple
This is the secret sauce. When we want to create a new habit we’re result driven, its a problem. We have to shift our focus toward the process. Why people skip new year resolutions? Result driven mindset again. People want to, but the inner why is weak and ways to get there are too broad.
Maybe you’re thinking about losing weight and getting healthier. Then you get a rush of motivation. You start eating the 5 fruits & veggies serving prescribed by media & health institution. Yet, it’s too difficult for you and you quit after a week. Your plan about getting healthy was vague then difficult. Why? Because family, friends, institutions, magazines told you to get in shape. Everyone advised you to do something, everyone except yourself. You didn’t have an inner why ( also known as intrinsic motivation).
You won't believe the solution. It is to minify your habit so much you're sure you’re not going to skip it. 5 fruits and veggies are too much for you? Start eating one apple a day. Working out? Start with one push up a day. Yes, I know how it sounds. The goal is to make it ridiculously simple. So simple it will not have any consequences in your life. Moreover, if you think that, you‘re on the right way.
« Pay attention to yourself. It has to be crazy simple according to your difficulty standards, not someone else’s. »
Doing 10 pull-ups a day is easy for your best friend, not for you, yet.
Want to do meditation? Start breathing consciously for one minute a day. Want to cure social anxiety? Start saying hi to one stranger a day. Getting in shape? Start doing one push up a day. I did not say one, for you to do ten because you’re « tougher » than that, do one. We all have massive egos on things we find easy in life. You need to put yours away to succeed. It’s very important. I emphasize on the easiness to it and the verb: Start. We’re going to see why now.
Use the power of consistency
The race of Life is a marathon, not a sprint - some clever dude
Now we know our next habit has to be long-term and simple. Let's take fitness for example because it speaks to everybody. You want a be a healthy person, great! You decide to do one push a day, even if you never did one in your entire life. In that case, you won't manage to do fifty if you never did one. That’s why we're getting small. One push up is nothing but one push up a day is something else. The consistency is the enhancer.
Let's take Thanos and his infinity stones for example. if he has the reality stone, he can change the reality around him in a small area. When he adds the power stone to it, he can change the reality of the entire universe! I’m going geeky on this but this example is awesome, deal with it.
If you have one thing to remember reading this article it’s this:
« CONSISTENCY BEATS EVERYTHING »
Including quantity & quality because it comes before them. Consistency means compounding, and compounding is greater than anything else. You will start to do to one push up a day but here comes the magic. At some point and it will happen fast, you will desire to do more push up and will be able to. When it comes you’ll have to level up the difficulty level but still have to make it simple according to your ease. You’ll start at one push up a day and will add one every week. You need to remember, consistency is key and you have to do it every day!
So don’t Miss A Day
Sounds obvious. Don't respect the previous rules and you're gonna quit after a week, like everybody else. You have to deliberate practice every day. It’s the definition of consistency. Sometimes life is ahead of us and random circumstances make us miss a day. Well, don’t. Miss one if it's an emergency but don’t miss two. Miss two, and you will miss three, four, a week and a lifetime. I have a great tip for you. Do it first thing in the morning. If you do it as soon as you’re waking up, it’s done. You don’t have to think about it the entire day plus it was crazy simple, what more?
I have another one for you. Jerry Seinfeld, a comedian in his time, called it « don't break the chain ». Take a calendar or any notebook where you wrote the dates of the month/year. Then, put a cross every day after doing your habit. The only thing you have to worry about is to not break your chain, it’s the game. It gives you a sense of accomplishment, plus you’ll have the actual proof you can stick to something.
In summary, do it first thing in the morning. Put a cross on your calendar when it’s done and focus on playing the « not breaking the chain » game. These tips are insane, I’m sure Thanos would use them.
The brain is wonderful. You’ll notice your consistency spreading in every area of your life. Eat one apple a day and soon you’ll crave for more healthy foods and health-related behaviors within the year. You will surprise yourself by refusing to eat fast food and rushing to devour a salad. Remembering your 5 servings/a day failure at the beginning. You will take the stairs instead of the elevator. You will go for your first jogging, with the biggest smile on yourself. You will lose the pounds you wanted to get rid of. You will sleep better. You will be the healthier person you always wanted to be because you started eating one apple a day.
« Power stone baby »
So what do you have to take from all this?
- Create a new habit only for your well-being.
- Start too damn simple.
- Do it every day first time in the morning (do not miss a day).
- Put a cross in your calendar.
- Add some difficulty, every week or month, but not too much at a time.
- Connect the dots one year after, and see how holding these rules changed your entire life.
Take your time, love yourself,