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.

create a habit

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 first:

  1. What am I trying to accomplish by creating this new habit?

  2. How will it feel once I’ve done this?

  3. What habit/s do I need to allow me to accomplish my goals?

  4. Are there any examples of people that have done what I want to do already?

  5. 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.

create a habit

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 for.

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

create a habitFind 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:

  1. Wing you after you approach the group

  2. 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,

Robert (Kingy)

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Comments

Mr. Rob's picture

New Habits


Interesting post there Robert (sick name btw definently my favorite) I never thought about building habits one at a time I probably could have used this article 8 months ago when I first started my self improvement journey. Upon embarking on this journey I was trying to change my thinking habits from positive to negative, go out regularly to meet women, and do a weekly workout routine all at the same time. No wonder I was overwhelmed! Although it probably took longer I was so determined not to give up, like I've done my whole life, I did succeed in all 3 habits and am currently running as strong as ever in all 3.
My newest habit I'm implementing is cleaning up and organizing my house (just moved out of the rents place im 19 living alone) and I made a checklist of all the things I need to do to clean up every night before going to bed. Its amazing how big a fucking mess I can make on a daily basis. Im used to mom helping clean up (apparently she cleaned a lot more than gave her credit) but now that im 100% responsible I start freaking out when I see a mess and get OCD about it so im thinking this will be an easy habit to implement. Anyway cool article you should write something else on here soon if you can. Any new material/authors/perspectives are greatly appreciated by the GC readers... especially the subscribers (makes us feel like were getting more bang for our buck!).

Rob

Jason's picture

Hey dudes, Robert, that's a


Hey dudes,

Robert, that's a really nice post about an interesting topic that will surely affect everyone around here. And I do not mean to disrespect you, even because you are way more qualified than I am to write this post, but I *really* think that Chase should be writing this one.

I come back here for many reasons - it started with girls, but now I can see much more, and nothing pleases me more than coming here and reading something that Chase wrote on "mindsets". I like the feel that Chase can write about topics that *he* likes, about mindsets, his stories and anecdotes, etc, because ultimately everyone that comes back here has him as a model for many things aside from picking up girls, and thus it inspires us reading articles on "How to master everything" or "How to be efficient" or "Why I don't date girls who drink anymore". It's almost like we can chat to him. It gives us insights that we wouldn't get anywhere else. He makes possible for us to have the perspective of someone who already have mastered many things of his interest in life and help us see the world as he learned to see after years and years of honing his skills and bettering his life. I'm not saying you didn't do it too - but he have also mastered writing as few people have.

Again - no hate here. I'm sure you can write about a vast amount of topics very well. I'm just saying that given Chase is one of the writers on GC, and given that (I think) he likes to write about these kinds of topics, I feel that he'd have given us a wonderful piece of writing :)

Marty's picture

Neediness


Rob:

Extremely helpful article, thank you. This chimes very much with my own experience in this and other areas; it's fascinating to see it written down and discussed in detail.

Chase:

Would you consider doing an article on neediness in men, please? What it is, what causes it, how women detect it, and how to get rid of it!

Thanks
-Marty

Anonymous's picture

Some habits are hard to develop


Some Social habits are hard to develop because of the dearth of opportunities for repeated practice

For example, . If you work long hours and have al ong commute and you only get a chance to go out on Fri and Sat, it's hard to practice day game for example.

Also, it's hard to practice closing women out and escalating with them once you're alone with them because women usually don't just offer themselves up to a man so he can practice on them.

It's also hard to practice sexualizing the conversation with women especially if mostoftge women you interact with you see at work,where there is a strict no sexual harassment policy. For me this one is particularly troubling because I have to consciously tell myself when out with a woman that she isn't my coworker, I can sexualizing without negative consequences that are truly dangerous. It is hard to combat the fear here because of the dearth of opportunity. It's not like school days where girls were less creeped out by a sexual man.

A solution has been visualization for me. Imagine myself in the complex "scary" environment and see what responses I can come up with. This isn't that fun however, because its much more stimulating when an actual woman is there in front of you responding to your sexiness.

Just my thoughts

TORNADO's picture

Great Post...


I have been trying my best to get up early. I actually once did that consistently for 10 days. But one booze night killed it all.

Regarding habits, again I feel the most important factor is Self-Control. I am a Violinist and I try to set a fixed time for practice. However, due to lack of self-control I end up putting more hours into it than necessary.

The same could be said for the gym, seeing just one episode of a sitcom everyday, gaming for a fixed hour etc.

The only way I think to combat these situations is to do something unconventional. For example: Maybe tell the trainer to drive you away after the time limit, Software capable of autoshutting your TV or your computer after a fixed time.

Initially might cause frustration, but I feel is the best way to go about it. Self-control if not inherently possible must be forced unconventionally.

Anonymous's picture

Well, this is an embarrassing


Well, this is an embarrassing habit that I'd like to reverse but um, I don't shower everyday. That's just how it's been in my household. Growing up, we had one bathroom with one shower and it was tedious because we'd have to take turns. It got to a point where if I was too tired to wait and wanted to go straight to bed,I did. As for the mornings, I had to get up for school early and never found the time to shower in between eating breakfast, packing my school supplies, getting dressed, etc.
I didn't know it was unnatural until kids at school talked about how gross it was when a person doesn't even shower for one day. From that point on I hid that I didn't shower.
Last year,I tried to implement a habit of showering but I was also implementing two other habits as well. It all became so tedious I quit after the first month.
I have a lot of habits society may deem as "gross" actually.
Can you tell me how I can gradually make this specific thing a habit in my life, seeing as its not quite a habit involving pickup or people?

Anonymous's picture

great article


Ive been trying a lot of self development of late and one of the things I read which has helped was about habits.... What you practice you become. Its good to hear it from a slightly different angle as well to help put it in more perspective. By understanding that your behaviour is just primarily lots of unconscious habits, it helps you to understand and alter the programming of these if you decide to. Its helped me pretty much kick smoking (except for when I go out drinking, that I find a bit harder as your mind has a bit less control after a few bevvies), and get rid of this stupid nervous laughter habit after saying something that I wasnt quite sure of myself for etc. Ive now realised theres quite a lot of bad habits I do have (also as a result of having Ateention Deficit Disorder), that I am now starting to recognise and then can work on replacing these bad habits with positive ones. WHats more is I am now developing a lot more self belief as I am starting to see changes and being less afraid of venturing out of my comfort zone with the goal of self improvement in mind. Still a long way to go though, but one step at a time

Anonymous's picture

How to know when you are there


Hey this is a great article. I've heard that it takes roughly this amount time to build a habit and I've been trying to apply this, especially with nonverbals and fundamentals. But I have trouble telling when I've created the habit. For example, I been working on my walk for a while. But now I have no idea if my walk on autopilot is correct or not, I think it is, but I don't know because its so natural. Is there a definite way to find when you've created a good habit?

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