Four things that will help get anything you want

Voting.

This is something we typically save for an election. But let’s talk about this a little bit differently this time.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle

When it comes to habits, we don’t realize that every action we take towards or against a behavior strengthens or weakens it. Think of this as going to a voting poll. Every time you snooze your alarm is a vote for procrastination and subsequently a vote against a productive start to your day.

Just as there is a system in place when it comes to elections, there is also a system when it comes to creating lasting change. When it comes to change we must focus on systems and less on willpower.

CREATE A SYSTEM

A lot of times we think of change as unrelenting will power. But this is just unrealistic. Change is slow and consistent which is boring as hell to most of us. We are typically fixated on our goals but don’t realize that it’s the systems we create that matter the most.

Goals give us a direction but systems pave the way. In sports, there are many facades of the game besides the score. If you focus on every defensive effort and maximizing offensive opportunities, you increase your chance of winning the game. The score will take care of itself. The system is what is really doing the work.

Dissect your goals into small steps. A lot of times in our visions of grandiosity, we omit the steps necessary to achieve them. To start that business you have to make those phone calls, create that website and put yourself out there at the expense of potential ridicule and failure .

The author of Atom Habits, James Clear, recommends starting extremely small. A by that I mean EXTREMELY.

For example, if you haven’t been to the gym in years, he recommends your first step is to just ask someone what gym they go to. That’s it. That’s step one. Then slowly add things such as, buying gym clothes, and just going to the gym for ten minutes. Over time, the initial effort to get to the gym will become easier and easier, which is usually the highest barrier. Working out will then take care of itself.

CHANGE YOUR SELF TALK

One of the most impactful examples I heard was of a person trying to quit smoking.

There we two people who were trying to quit smoking but their responses to their desire for a cigarette were priceless. One person’s response was “No thanks, I am TRYING to quit smoking.” The other’s was “ No thanks, I am NOT A SMOKER.” Mind-blowing to me.

This changes everything. There is a little known fact that our minds will conform to how we view ourselves. Words change our brains. And the description of ourselves influences our thoughts, actions, and behavior.

The word try permits us to fail. We permit ourselves to give up because we never actually committed to anything. We love excuses. I know I do.

Assume the identity of a doer. Remove try from your vocabulary. As master Yoda would say, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

IDENTIFY WHO YOU WANT TO BECOME

We do this instinctually rather we know it or not. We identify as something or someone and try our best to confirm to that identity.

We make decisions a lot of times based on the identity that we subscribe to ourselves. For example, if constantly identify yourself as a Christian, you might have a habit of going to church. Why? Because in your mind, that’s just what Christians do.

Writers write. Runners run. But you must first believe you are what you assume yourself to be. We have multiple inner forces dying for attention, as well as external ones. Sometimes you might not want to be a Christian when someone cuts you off in traffic. Instead, you want to be an angry bitch who throws a fit. Sometimes the bitch wins. And that’s okay.

Focus on your identity by saying out loud, who or what you want to be. Just thinking it isn’t enough. Studies show, that when we say things our brains register them almost ten times likely than if we were to only think it.

Take it one step further and write down who you want to be. Now you’re engaging your visual system as well. We need every advantage we can for change. So stack the deck in your favor.

MAKE IT EASY

People get upset and ask themselves “Why am I so damn lazy?!” The real question is why do we do anything in the first place. Being lazy means we are conserving resources, and our bodies love conserving resources. And that’s why creating habits are so crucial.

When we create a habit, our bodies become very efficient at it and again our bodies love efficiency. Every action we do physically changes the neurons in our brains. The deeper we strengthen our neural pathways, the less energy required to do the task.

For myself, I used to HATE running. If there was a choice between running and playing in traffic, I would take my chances out here in California dodging Teslas. But I’ve gotten so used to running lately it’s actually enjoyable and requires significantly less effort.

But I started very slow. By running a little bit then walking. Running gradually became easier and easier as my body conditioned. Now the walking portion seems like a waste of time. Why? Because my body has made running easier.

Don’t be angry with yourself because you’re lazy, it’s okay, we all are. Just commit to making it easier for you to do things that know you should be doing. Remember change is slow. But also think about how time seems to pass so quickly. If only you would have just started that diet plan and cut 200 calories a day one year ago where would you be now? That’s roughly 20 pounds for almost no effort.

Now get out there and make a change. How? Make it easy.

Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway. — Earl Nightingale



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