A LIFE-CHANGING SPRAINED ANKLE
Growing up as an overweight kid, I lacked self-confidence. Obesity runs in my family. My father was always trying to lose weight. He struggled to change like we all do until we experience a seminal moment of inspiration or desperation. My commitment to change was born out of the latter. I remember being sent to the nurse’s office at school for a sprained ankle and overhearing her describing me as a fat boy. Her words struck me. I don’t know why they hit me as hard as they did, but I am glad they cause me enough pain to take action. I resolved to lose the weight. My plan consisted of just two things, daily exercise, and NO MORE DESSERTS. I decided that I would not eat another dessert until I lost all the weight.
It wasn’t easy, but I went over a year without eating a single dessert. I didn’t know much about diet and exercise; I was only ten years old, after all. My father read countless books on diet and exercise, but knowledge doesn’t change your life. Sometimes too much information and analysis can be a detriment to doing. It is our daily rituals that shape our lives. I committed to doing a little bit of exercise each morning and when I got home from school, inspired by my comic book heroes. My transforming body was a constant reminder of the value of taking consistent action. Exercise lifted me out of depression and improved my mental focus. I started doing better in school and became more confident. Eventually, I would become a National Honor Society member in high school and graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point.
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Shrinking our habit commitment reduces our reluctance. This commitment is a floor and not a ceiling. If you feel motivated to do more, that’s great. Willpower is going to get you going. Motivation will determine how far you go. Continue reading MINI HABITS – Shrink the Commitment – Shrink the Resistance
We all have the power to change who we are. Not immediately. It takes time. It took time to develop into the person we are, and it will take time to become the person we want to be. Our identity emerges from our habits. Every action casts a vote for the type of person we want to become. Each action is another piece of evidence supporting that identity. If you play an instrument once, you cannot call yourself a musician, but if you played every day, you could. Even if you only practiced 10-minutes a day, if that practice was purposeful, you would see improvement. In time, you and everyone you know would have to agree you are a musician. Habits hold the key to unlocking our potential as human beings.
As human beings, our greatest gift is our capacity to transform ourselves through our habits Continue reading WE ARE ALL CAPABLE OF CHANGE
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What you are going to learn:
- Why Habits are so Powerful and Potentially Dangerous
- The Three Elements of a Habit
- How a Better Understanding of Habits can Help Us Replace Bad Habits with Good Ones
- A Simple Approach to Overcoming our Natural Resistance to Change
- Why We Often Blame our Lack of Willpower when it is usually our Lack of Commitment that is to Blame
People often say that change is difficult, and they are correct. Change is difficult, but we are all capable of change. Our lives are continually changing, learning to drive, marriage, having children, new job responsibilities, and new technological tools. Initiation is the most challenging phase of any change because when we are learning to perform new tasks, it is mentally exhausting. Learning to perform a new activity requires our cerebral cortex (“Conscious Brain”) to do the heavy lifting.
As the new task becomes routine, the more resilient basal ganglia, (“subconscious brain’), takes over. The action becomes easier and easier to perform. Our conscious brain essentially goes on autopilot, and the actions flow almost effortlessly. You undoubtedly experienced this when you were learning to drive. In the beginning, it required all of your mental focus, but now you can drive, adjust the cabin temperature, tune the radio, carry on a conversation, and heaven forbid, use your smartphone while driving.
Change is possible, but it starts with awareness. The hardest part of creating a change in behavior is just not repeating the behaviors of the past. Approximately 40 to 45% of the decisions we make are out of habit.[i] Unfortunately, these aren’t conscious decisions. These are decisions our conscious brain has delegated to the subconscious brain. Our subconscious mind controls the performance of repetitive daily activities which frees our conscious mind from making countless decisions each day, which would lead to decision fatigue and mental exhaustion. For this reason, we aren’t mindful of actions we have repeated enough times to make them habits.
Continue reading “CHANGE IS DIFFICULT, BUT WITH THE RIGHT STRATEGIES AND A LITTLE MOTIVATION, WE ARE ALL CAPABLE OF GREAT CHANGE”