The Power of Habit
It's absolutely astonishing what the human mind can do...if you repeat something long enough (an activity, a thought, words that you say out loud, a behaviour), you can literally re-wire your brain and create a new routine for yourself.
I naturally am an ambitious, goal-driven person...but growing up I was constantly lacking one thing; discipline! I was good at what I was doing, I was performing great, I was getting excellent grades at school and I was constantly craving something more, but I struggled with one thing...persistence and discipline. It took me a while to realise that success doesn't come from being smart or showing up and doing the work just once. You need to keep doing it and doing it and doing it until it becomes your second nature.
I remember my parents constantly trying to instil that discipline in me and that creation of habit, when I'd rather perform once or complete everything in a rush last minute. After many instances of me getting great but forced results, I knew I had to change the way I was doing things, if I wanted to achieve something more fulfilling, something longer lasting and if I wanted to make any of my dreams come true.
It was then, in my search for things that could help with my discipline, that I came across an article about the power of habit, which seemed to suggest one thing...
If you force yourself to do something -that one thing you desire to change or develop as a pattern/behaviour/skill- for 21 days (3 weeks) consecutively, without skipping a single day, you will all of a sudden create a whole new routine...you will have acquired a new habit. After 21 days, the brain is accustomed to that new pattern of yours and considers it a new normal. It's as if this new habit has always been there and you automatically find yourself doing it without having to think or force yourself anymore. So I thought I'd try it out...
The results? Outstanding...I started using this technique with smaller things, things that didn't matter that much in the grand scheme but I would benefit from in the long-term (i.e. putting suncream every single morning, meditating every day at the same time, drinking hot lemon water first thing in the morning or waking up at 5:30am and going to the gym)...Same system, same technique worked for each one of the above goals of mine. A whole new world appeared before me and I couldn't feel more excited! I felt empowered to do anything I set my mind to if I just maintained that single rule of excellence...21 days of forcing yourself to do exactly the same thing at the same time, without breaking once.
Since then, I have been using that little trick every single time I want to commit to something that I find naturally challenging to do...and over time I created a system that encompasses everything I do to help me achieve my goals, develop my self and reach out for my dreams. I am sharing this system with you here, in the hope you will all benefit from that:
Commit to your goal. Find out what your goal is and why it matters to you. Ask the question "why" and have a powerful answer you can get back to every single time you find it challenging to keep going. Write these down in a journal or a notebook you can easily access.
Understand your current state. Where are you now? What is your present state and what are your everyday habits now? What are the limiting beliefs and what are the skills you already possess?
Identify the bridge. What are the gaps between your current state and your future state? What do you need to change in order to reach your goals? What skills do you need to develop?
Prioritise. Out of all the little things you want to do, the new habits you want to create, you can only stick to one or two at a time. Don't overwhelm yourself by creating too many new patterns. Just stick to the ones that are more important to you at the moment and once you've conquered those, move on to the next ones.
Force yourself into a new state for 21 days. Create a new routine for yourself, for 21 consecutive days. Do the same thing, do it in the same way, do it at the same time. Don't interrupt the new pattern you're trying to create and don't skip a day or change the time.
Remember to visualise your end goal every time you practice your new routine. Go back to your journal or your notes and read out loud why you're doing what you're doing, what you're trying to achieve and why it matters to you. Once your 21 days of commitment are over, reward yourself...show yourself appreciation and gratitude for sticking to something that once seemed challenging, for achieving something new, for taking the first step to a better, brighter future. And don't forget...
You can do whatever you set your mind to, as long as you believe it, as long as you pursue it!