How to Create a Habit You’ll Stick With
Note from Chase: this is a guest post on creating and implementing a habit, by Robert King, director and instructor at PUA London.
Habits are the brain's own productivity mechanism. The brain
converts conscious actions, consistently
repeated, into unconscious habits. The brain turns
conscious actions into unconscious habits to free up future resources
and will power for other tasks and actions.
The only downside to this process is that it can be extremely difficult to break bad habits or to create new ones. Once positive habits have been ingrained into the unconscious they are EXTREMELY beneficial, though.
To create a new habit, we first engage in a new activity, and the brain works very hard to process all the new information. The brain looks for patterns and tries to understand the new action. As soon as it understands how the task works, this behaviour starts becoming automatic, and the mental activity required to do the task decreases.
Think about how much brain power you used when first learning how to drive. Compare that now to when you drive; probably the vast majority of your driving is done on autopilot.
Let's talk about creating habits, which are crucial to getting
success, especially in all things self-development.
Important Questions to Ask Yourself
Before setting out to create a habit, ask yourself these questions
What am I trying to accomplish by creating this new habit?
How will it feel once I’ve done this?
What habit/s do I need to allow me to accomplish my goals?
Are there any examples of people that have done what I want to do already?
What are all the ways that my life will be better after implementing this habit?
These questions will help you clarify what it is exactly you're
endeavouring to learn, and help you to visualise
how beneficial a given habit will be to your life (which helps quite a
bit with the motivation you need to implement said habit).
One New Habit at a Time
It is optimal to only build one new habit at a time. You might have lots of motivation at the outset, but it is all but impossible to successfully implement more than one habit at once.
The general rule is to take thirty days to implement one habit. As soon as the habit has become ingrained in your subconscious, you can start to implement the next habit.
This might sound like a long process, but it really isn’t, compared to the benefits you’ll receive from each new good habit you create. It's possible going at this rate to build twelve new habits per year!
Considering the average person doesn't consciously build even a single new positive habit most years of his life, twelve per year is pretty EPIC!
Create a Habit in Bite-Sized Chunks
Gradually move towards the habit; don’t go for it straight away - build up to it.
If you want to build a habit of ‘wake up at 6 a.m. every morning’, then every few days gradually wake up thirty minutes earlier. Don’t try straight out of the gates for the early time because it will be too much (unless you're presently waking up at 7), and you will be much more likely to just give up. Gradual change is the best way to go for everything.
Self-improvement = consistently being slightly outside of your comfort zone.
Don’t be massively outside of your comfort zone; you don’t want to give yourself a virtual aneurism! Instead you want to be progressively, slightly outside of your comfort zone. Every few days you should do slightly more.
Everyone has a default level of homeostasis; this is the natural equilibrium of your body and mind. If you go massively outside of this equilibrium, your body and mind will shut down in order to protect you, or revert back to old habits and programming.
If you make progressive incremental changes, though, the body and mind won’t fight it much (or at all) because the change is gradual and not nearly as alarming.
A New Habit Won’t Kill You
With regards to pick up, it's important to learn that from doing an action nothing bad will happen. Approaching a group of girls on the street won’t result in you dying. As soon as that mental click happens inside of your brain, your approach anxiety gets reduced and approaching new women gets easier.
Give yourself the opportunity to gain this realisation by putting yourself outside of your comfort zone a few times. Then, when you begin to create this new habit, you can make realistic goals, and you will have progressively less fear over the thirty days.
Be Prepared to Be Embarrassed
In the beginning stage of implementing a new habit, it will be embarrassing. Whatever new habit you want to take on, it's important to realise that you are going to be bad at it.
Approaching women when you're just starting out, for example, will result in you looking silly, especially if you aren’t an “icy pimp” already. This is fine; don’t compare yourself to other people who have a lot more experience then you.
When starting out you are definitely not going to be able to pick up like you see in pick up videos. When first learning pick up you are going to be embarrassed and humiliated a lot.
This applies to an extent to all
new habits learned publicly (in front of more people than just
yourself); and, generally, the larger the audience, and/or the further
out there you're putting yourself, the more embarrassment you'll be up
When beginning with approaching, you will approach women and they will walk past you, ignore you, tell you to go away. You must ACCEPT this and not fight it. If you are very new to pick up, it will probably take you six months before you get reasonable results. Reasonable as in you are getting some results, inconsistently. Now six months might seem like a lot of time... but I assure you it will fly by!
The six months is going to pass whatever you do, so you might as well be doing something that will help you in the long run. Focus on how great your life will be after you’ve progressed through this stage to keep yourself motivated. Imagine the quality and amount of women you will be dating.
A New Habit Takes Thirty Days to Build
Implementing a new habit is all about repetition and committing to what you’ve written down on paper. It takes thirty days of repetition to implement a new habit into the subconscious, where it becomes automatic.
You will need to do whatever it takes to make sure that you complete those thirty days; after those thirty days, it is a lot easier to keep the habit going.
In fact, after thirty days, it takes effort to stop doing the habit, because it has become so ingrained in the subconscious.
Get an Accountability Friend
Find someone that you can count on to be accountable to. If you have someone that you can be accountable to then this will be your easiest win! If the habit is work-related and you have a girlfriend, she'll be the best person to help you. In this situation, tell her, “I need to do this habit every day for the next thirty days; here is two hundred pounds. For each day I don’t do the habit, I want you to keep fifty pounds - you can spend it on whatever you want.”
This is without doubt the best way that I’ve found to ensure I stick to something.
Now, if you want to create a habit that is pick up-related, then you
probably don’t or at
least shouldn’t have a girlfriend. For
this you need a best
friend or a great wingman.
If you want to approach groups of women more, then what you should do is say, “Hey bro, I want to start approaching groups of women more frequently. Please, can you point out some groups for me to approach; they must be girl-groups only, not mixed. That's my only requirement. Here is fifty pounds. For each group that you point out that I don’t approach within fifteen seconds, I want you to keep five pounds.” Most wings will be more than happy to play that game, especially if they get to:
Wing you after you approach the group
Take your money if you don’t approach
This technique will get you approaching fast, guaranteed!
If you are rich and five pounds per approach isn’t enough of a motivator, then increase that figure until it starts to motivate you. Tell your wing to play this game with you every time you go out. The pain of losing money will outweigh the fear of any approach anxiety that you may have.
Your Beliefs are Your Final Concern
If you manage to maintain a new habit for over the thirty days, CONGRATULATIONS! You're almost there.
The final requirement for solidifying your new habit is accepting that “Change is possible”. People backslide after thirty days, after putting all the hard work in, because they don’t believe that they can change.
It is important to truly believe that change is possible and that you DO DESERVE these changes and their positive effects in your life. If you have a belief like “I don’t deserve to be happy” or “If I’m happy bad things will happen”, these beliefs need to be removed first with the help of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or a therapist.
Hope this post helps.
In the comments section below, let me know what new habits you're implementing in your life, and how they are going.
It has been great connecting and exploring the game with you,
Peace n Love,
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