I’ve been talking a lot about discipline and improving things about ourselves. Thing is, self improvement is a multi-million dollar, maybe even billion dollar industry.
There is also a mountain of free content and advice out there…
…and yet almost no one ever takes the steps that are needed to make the changes they want to make.
There are a plethora of potential reasons why this is, The biggest one is because people aren’t uncomfortable enough with their current state to do the things necessary to break out of it. That’s a much bigger topic than we can handle in one dispatch, so I am going to talk about what I believe to be the #2 reason that people don’t succeed at making changes to themselves and improving their lives…
…they take on too much and try to change everything all at once.
(I realize this may seem contrary to the dispatch I did on discipline a few days ago but that’s a bit different as those are habits I already had and had let lapse, rather than new habits)
People who have always gotten up at noon suddenly decide they want to get up at 4am. They also decide that after a lifetime of eating steak every night that they are going vegan. They have watched TV for 6 hours a night for years, and decide they are going to read 10 chapters a night instead. They’ve never exercised in their life but they decide to start spending 2 hours a night at the gym. All of those are great goals and worth aspiring to, but unfortunately habits don’t work like that. It takes something like 67 days to build a habit, and just diving in on all these things all at once doesn’t usually work. What tends to happen is its too hard to dramatically shift your personality and habits that fast, it is too hard, and they give up or slide back into their old, comfortable habits.
So what’s the solution?
The solution is to take steps, not just leap to the end. Ultimately all you have to do is be better than yourself from the day before, that’s a step. Looked at another way, instead of trying to radically shift over night, just try to improve by 10%
Start by waking up at 11am for a week instead of noon. Instead of eating steak every night, switch to eggplant twice a week. Read 5 pages instead of 10 chapters a night. Spend 15 minutes on the treadmill instead of 2 hours killing yourself in the gym and so on. There are a lot of upsides to this approach. What you are doing by making these incremental changes is developing the neuro-pathways in your brain that associate with these changes. The brain craves routine, and resists change, and if you do too much at once you don’t get if the chance to form the necessary connections, but if you take small steps, and develop habits in smaller steps over time your brain won’t freak out and resist, and the habit will begin to form.
Then you can take the next step and repeat the cycle.
Another thing you can do here is not to beat yourself up if you’re not perfect with the new habit. Example if you set out to read a chapter in a book every day, and you only do it 4 days out of 7, that’s still 4 more chapters than you would have read previously. Just keep that intention and effort over time and the neuro-pathways will get stronger and continue to develop and the habit will continue to for. Strong enough of these 10% efforts together and before you know it you will have a whole new set of habits, improved health life and happiness and in some ways be a whole new person… and of course, make more Profiit 😀
So try to get 10% better tomorrow, if you only make it to 5% you are still 5% closer.