Habits can be heaven or hell.
Learning how to ingrain good habits and remove bad habits is a very useful skill. One that I will teach you in this post.
The first question is, what is a habit?
Dictionary.com defines it thus:
“A habit is an acquired behaviour pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary”.
Habits vs. Addictions
Bad habits can literally ruin your life. Take smoking for example. I used to be a smoker for nine years from the age of 21-30. Personally I don’t think smoking is addictive. I think it’s a habit.
If you let an addiction take hold of you, even if you abstain from the thing you’re addicted to, you will still want to partake in it again for the rest of your life. Think of something like Heroin.
It wasn’t easy to quit smoking, but I did it, and although I would sometimes dream of being a smoker for years afterwards, I’ve never had any urge to light a cigarette since then.
On the other hand, good habits can propel your life in a positive direction. Just think of habitually going to the gym, eating healthily, talking to hot women, etc. Turning those activities into habits will definitely enhance your life.
Fortunately, as the quote above declares, habits are acquired. You have to do something over and over again for it to become a habit. If you acquire a habit, you will keep on doing it without thinking about it.
How to Make or Break a Habit
The first thing you should do is analyse your life and write a list (I love lists) of habits that you would like to acquire and habits that you would like to remove.
The key to habits is repetition. You need to repeat that activity for at least thirty days before it becomes continuous. It’s like those antique cars where you have to crank a handle to make the engine start. Once you’ve cranked, the engine will run until you stop it.
To remove a bad habit, you have to abstain from doing that activity for at least thirty days.
To acquire a good habit, you have to do that activity every day for at least thirty days.
It’s as easy as that. Or is it?
Well, no, not really. I’m sure you’ve made New Year’s resolution before. And I’m sure you’ve not followed through on hardly any of those resolutions also. Why?
Because you weren’t motivated enough.
Don’t Wait Until You’re Desperate
You’re not going to do anything unless you wanted it enough. When I decided to learn Game, it was because I was sick of scarcity and neediness with regards to women. I’d been in three long-term live-in relationships which I stayed in despite knowing that they were with the wrong girl. I didn’t want to go without sex though so I just stuck in the relationship even though the women got on my nerves more and more it progressed.
Eventually I got tired of cheating myself to fulfill my desire, so I did a full turn and decided never to get into a relationship again unless the girl was of very high calibre. She had to have what I wanted from a woman. This backfired and I went almost four years without sex. So I got super frustrated and decided that no matter what, I was going to get this sorted out.
This is the kind of motivation you need.
The problem is that you don’t want to have to go through this amount of frustration and trauma to make or break a habit. So how do you do it?
I learned how to break even deeply rooted habits from a book by Ken Keyes called the Handbook to Higher Consciousness. The book is another of those ‘New Thought’ books along the lines of Maxwell Maltz’s Psycho-Cybernetics, Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret and U. S. Andersen’s Three Magic Words. Ken himself is a massive Beta as you will realise if you read his biography, but the information I learned from the Handbook to Higher Consciousness was really valuable.
To motivate yourself enough to follow your habit for thirty days, you need to include visualisation and a massive amount of very strong emotion. So, you see the outcome you want in as much detail as you can in your mind and then inject very intense emotion.
So for example, you want to go to the gym regularly, you visualise yourself waking up early every day, smiling, getting up and going to the gym, working out and seeing your body grow. But you also add very strong emotion. I’m talking about tensing your body up, screaming, shouting, crying, laughing, cheering, rolling around on the floor kind of intensity; exactly like you would if you’d just experienced a massive trauma or a massive victory.
When you think about it, this exactly what you did in the past to make any kind of massive change in your life, except this time you’re doing it on purpose, not as a result of external circumstances. Don’t ask me why it takes this kind of over-the-top emotional outpouring to program your brain into realising that what you’re visualising is what you really want to happen, but it does.
If the thought of doing this makes you really self-conscious, drive out into the countryside, climb a steep hill and do it where nobody can see or hear you. Do this a few times and you’ll have no trouble motivating yourself to make or break that habit.