A simple system for building habits

I hate that thing where you think a thing and then out of nowhere you think the complete opposite thing... 

but with feeling. 

My brain goes, 

"Go do the new thing" 

and then less than a second later it goes.

"No I don't feel like it" 

The next day your brain doesn't even let you get to that point. It diverts you in a different direction well in advance of the encounter. 

Brains are smart, they don't like new behaviours. They think they're keeping us safe. So much so that they even reduce our access to willpower until we give up. It works in subtle ways that we are very rarely aware of. 

The chances are that the new habit has come with a fresh batch of motivation. 

A role model has perhaps experienced good results with it so Day 1 you are charged with positive emotion, perhaps even as long as 10 days. 

At some point soon though you wake up not feeling great, your reason for beginning isn't quite clear In your mind and the internal conversation begins. 

The rational DO IT brain


The emotional DON'T DO IT brain

The trouble is, that the emotional brain is stronger. 

It ALWAYS wins eventually even if we aren't aware of its presence. 

The only way to build a habit then is to pay attention to what the emotional part of your brain wants. 

It wants a reward
How will you treat yourself after 30 days of new action? 

It wants progress
How will you measure your progress in the most simple and assured way? 

It wants to win
Get a calendar where you can record successful completion every day. 

It wants it to be simple
What preparation will make it easier to happen than not? The more thought required the less action will happen. 

It wants it to be achievable
Plan to do 15 minutes of exercise every morning? Do 5, the goal is the habit, begin with winning in mind. Your game, your rules. 

It wants a script
You've created a script for success but life happens. Your brain wants to know what happens if you miss a day or two. Hint: start again. 

It wants sensory stimulation
Ever notice how some guys are drawn towards footballs or rugby balls? Their eyes are wired to the positive emotion of years of pleasure they associate with it. It's no longer thought that draws them, its instinct. But the cooler the ball the greater the draw. Hearing, smell, taste, touch, sight. How will you compel yourself to action? 

The chances are that you consider yourself far more rational than emotional but not to consider your emotions in building a new habit is irrational. 

You could ignore these steps but it's worth considering that if you are trying to create a new habit and you have decided NOT to do these things... 

Your emotions are leading you again 

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