Monday, February 22, 2010

It's Not As Difficult As We Make It...

90% of everything we do is a habit. 

We create those habits through massive, massive repetition... consciously and unconsciously. If we can create bad habits through such repetition, we can also create new, better habits through the same process.

The challenge is taking the necessary action to repeat the good habits over and over.

In order for anything to manifest, we must first make a conscious decision to want it to happen... this may be one of the most difficult things we do. Making that concrete decision isn't easy, and is what holds many of us back from achieving new and better. We know we "want" something different, but too often, lack the courage to commit to that decision that will create a shift in our mindset.

The biggest mistake I see every day is people trying to "change bad habits." Trying to change the habit actually makes us focus more attention on it, resulting in an even stronger bad habit. We spend so much time on the habit we don't want, we ironically make it more powerful.

Instead, we should concentrate on CREATING NEW habits.

Figure out what we want... repeat over and over.

Sounds simple? It is!

It's so simple, most completely overlook the ease at which these new habits materialize.

Clarity is very often too clear to see.


Sarah said...

good point, and great ending sentence!

Matty said...

You're right. It all begins with a conscious decision, otherwise we will subconsciously do what we are used to doing, the way we are used to doing it.

Take a look at training. When I was a kid, coaches would say "practice makes perfect". When in reality it doesn't. Unless you are practicing perfectly, you will not eventually perform perfectly. So in reality, "perfect practice makes perfect".

Consciously changing your habits.

Anonymous said...

My new exercising habit was as easy as you describe!

I'm going to do the same thing for my eating habits now. I can see that I haven't made the clear decision yet, and that's why I'm having a harder time with that part.

Bendigo said...

Great Point...I agree that we need to work in new habits instead of focusing on changing the bad..

love the last line. The whole can't see the forest for the trees...Great stuff!

Dayne Gingrich said...

I just had a long discussion with one of my "younger" students today about this. She was totally convinced that "changing her bad habits" (her words-- I hate changing...) would take more than simply deciding on a specific change, and taking action towards that goal.


Bad habits seem to appear, so we're not always aware when/how they're taking shape... or how often we repeated that negative behavior. So, when it's time to 'create new,' we somehow think or expect the positive behavior to just appear as well.

Want a new body? Make a conscious decision to eat correctly, exercise regularly, and become discipline enough to continue on a regular basis... SIMPLE! Having trouble staying discipline? You don't want it badly enough, then. I don't mean to sound rude, but we ALWAYS find a way to do what we REALLY want to do.

Want a new job/career? Make a conscious decision about the specific change you want, figure out the daily steps needed to get closer to that goal, and take massive action! Remain discipline enough to continue taking that action, because it's inevitable that you'll come across roadblocks. How badly do you really want that 'new career?'

Want to react to Pressure more positively? Redefine the word, making it a positive in your mind, rather than something you should be afraid of. Put yourself in more pressure situations, and practice that new definition over and over and over again! Create the New Habit of making pressure a positive, powerful word that will work FOR you.

We can 'Create a New' anything! How badly do you truly want it? How discipline are you willing to become in order to achieve it?

I'd personally rather be in the top 5% who understand how simple this is!


Rettakat said...

I totally agree with you on bad habits. A few years ago I was taught that you don't "change" a bad habit, you REPLACE it with a healthy one. The bad habit has been learned, you can't "unlearn" it... but you CAN, by consistent repetition, override that old programming with a new healthy habit.

That is just what you are saying, only in different wording. Excellent.

But... I must respectfully DISAGREE with your statement "Having trouble staying discipline? You don't want it badly enough, then...."

It's not that simple. I am not an expert... but I have lived with addiction, known addicts, and seen the gut-wrenching heartache for too many years to condense it down to that simple of a description. It is more complex than just "wanting it badly enough."

Okay, here's an example:
You are in a jet plane. The pilot drops dead. You must fly the plane (no one else can). It's life or death. YOU REALLY WANT IT. You want it BADLY. Desperately. But just WANTING a thing is not ALWAYS enough.

There is sometimes more to it than just wanting it. There is know-how. Knowledge. Information. Insight.

You might make it, trial and error, or you might not.

In some scenarios, we try and fail so many times, and finally, because we wanted it so badly for so long, we finally get connected with the necessary information and it all clicks.

Yes, some people really don't just "want it badly enough." Very, very true. But I would never make that a blanket statement for everyone who is NOT achieving that thing they "say" they really want.

Just my opinion. :-)

Broken YoYo said...

Spooky as I have been thinking a lot about this very subject, especially when it comes to wanting to create new good habits like becoming an early riser... something I HAVE to do if I want to realise my training goals as I simply don't have enough time to train, study, work full time and be a mother otherwise!

If I don't want to sacrifice anything I love, which is all of the above although obviously not in that order, then I need to adopt a new routine which incorporates good habits and removes the bad ones...

However, it's all very well *knowing* what to do, I really need to put my money where my mouth is and put it all into practice, and fast!!


spldbch said...

Making a conscious decision and effort to do something -- that's what they mean by the power of intention, right?

I agree with your point that it's more effective to focus on the new good habit we want to adopt versus focusing on the new bad habit we want to stop doing. We are creatures of habit -- it's not likely that we are going to rid ourselves of habits. The best thing we can do is replace our bad ones with good ones.

Dayne Gingrich said...

Rettakat: Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. I love reading your progress... you're a true inspiration to all of us.

Having dealt, and helping others "get through" with their obsessions, addictions, bad habits, unhealthy mindsets, etc... one thing is very clear: The ones who turn their lives around,

1) Make a conscious decision
2) Stay discipline enough to continue with the correct, NEW choices.

Discipline is one of the biggest factors in creating anything new, especially if we're so linked into many old habits.

Flying an airplane when the pilot goes down isn't the same thing. Discipline in this scene isn't the same as being discipline enough to wake up every morning to work out (because there won't be enough time later in the day).

"Wanting it badly enough" is absolutely a factor when we KNOW we want something... KNOW it's best for us... yet CHOOSE not to continue.

Passion + Discipline = Results... every single time!!!!!

Thank you again for a very thoughtful comment. I appreciate everything you write!

Rettakat said...

Ahhh... I get the distinction now. I was thinking only of the "not wanting is badly enough" part.

You are honing in on people who say they do want it, know what to do, yet aren't willing to DO it, consistently to achieve a thing. Not willing develop disciplined routines and habits...

Gotcha! So from that standpoint, I can totally agree.

You have a great way of explaining things... a patient teacher. :-)

MOtastic said...

"Clarity is very often too clear to see."

I love that! This is a great reminder of the importance of making new habits.


Sean Anderson said...

You're a wonderful teacher.
I really enjoyed this post. The "wanting it bad enough" thing. Yeah---I understand that...and I agree with Loretta and you too.
I always dreamed of being a person of normal weight, but I was a prisoner of my bad habits. I wanted it bad...but I perceived the changes needed were too complicated---too hard for me to fully understand. I agree that "clarity is very often too clear to see." That is such a true statement. Clarity was often clouded by my inability to be honest about the habits that took me to over 500 pounds. The clear truth seemed too simple and wasn't convenient for my list of excuses and hangups to accept. It had to be harder than this. But it isn't and wasn't. Making the decision to develop new habits and evolve new and better choices had to be an iron clad decision. The decision was made and the excuses fell to the ground. When the blanket of self-honesty eliminated the excuses and rationalizations that clung to my bad habits---that's when clarity set me free. That's when most of my bad habits fell to the ground alongside the excuses that held me back.
My dreams are coming true now. I get emotional when I think about how lost the old Sean was...and all along, he held the key to get out and live life. The power to develop these good choices and habits is in all of us. It's absolutely clear.

Superfluous Brunette said...

Sometimes it is even difficult to see that we have bad habits because they are just that....a habitual way of being, such as a negative mind set, seeing things through a self-defeating perspective (such as myself :)

Awareness may be the first thing that is needed in some cases.

Love the last line. We don't see something that is too clear. I think we may do that almost on purpose, subconsciously, so we really don't have to take the steps to change.

Sara said...

It's funny, because this post is at least the 4th presentation of the concept of habit-changing that the universe has shoved in my face in as many days.

Even the most destructive and unpleasant of our repeated behaviors is still a habit, and it can be disorienting when broken. I don't long for what I've lost, but I sure as hell don't know what to do with all the time I used to devote to it.

You're right. I need a NEW habit. Maybe even a few of them.

Dayne Gingrich said...

I love all of these comments -- they're soo powerful! Everyone here is an inspiration, even if you don't realize it yet... even if you haven't made that concrete decision to be inspired by your potential!

This is exactly why I changed my website to a blog... to be able to see, first hand, everyone's minds (and bodies) working as one.

"My experience is (X)."

"Well, my personal beliefs and reasons I believe are (Y)"

"I agree with your (Y), but my life has been able to add a little (Z) to it... creating (W)."

It's truly eye opening to read your comments, respond, and create a healthy back-n-forth. This is how we all learn.

I try to teach a little, but I'm always hoping to LEARN!

... And learning I am.

Annie, The Amazing Shrinking Girl said...

I love the points you make but when I think about it, it still seems like it'll take me around in circles. For example, I want to eat right. Instead of focusing on what I eat bad and trying to change, instead I'll make the choice to eat correct. But isn't that the same thing as trying to correct the bad habit of eating junk?

Of am I thinking too much into this? I still struggle with so many things NOW that I did back when I first starting to lose weight. I keep wondering when will all the things I'm doing right become a lifestyle change vs. a habit I try to form

Dayne Gingrich said...

Good questions.

A "lifestyle change" will only take place after constant repetition of the new habit(s). There's, unfortunately, no other way. This is exactly why many people have a difficult time following through with their wants for a new (X). Wanting/passion is definitely important, but without continuous action, nothing will change.

Focusing on 'creating new' vs. 'changing old' is very different, and won't take you around in circles.

Changing Old actually makes you focus too much on the OLD... creating a cycle of more and more OLD. This is where people fail in making the new lifestyle.

By definition, trying to change old = concentrating on the old.

Instead... Create New only focuses on the NEW. We must know what the Old is, and learn from it... but if we want new habits to be formed, we HAVE to make our focus on creating new and better.

There's a saying in golf, which applies to all sports... and life: "Don't hit it in the lake" makes us focus on the lake. Instead, "hit it on the green" should be our focus. Eliminate lake... and the brain will give you the green.

Eliminate our focus on the old.
Increase focus on the new... brain will give you new!

Hope that helps answer your questions.

Annie, The Amazing Shrinking Girl said...

I don't play golf but loved the analogy... totally makes sense now! YAY! Gonna start doing this right now, TODAY!

Thanks again Dayne!

Deborah said...

I believe that totally. People concentrate so much on the bad habits that they can't see the good habits. It is almost like a visual practice. If you can see it, it will happen. For example a new car, a better job...I think instead of worrying about about the bad habits if you worried about the good ones, they will probably stick!
I loved this post!

Jessica said...

"We first make our habits, and
then our habits make us."
- John Dryden