The standard narrative about habit change, success, performance, and reaching your goals is to set a goal and try very hard. However, if you haven't achieved that, you do not have the will power, the perseverance, and the grid, or whatever super wise people call it. We always tend to tell ourselves these stories. We think that if we haven't attained what we previously sat, then we don't want it. As a result, we constantly find ourselves altering goals and beating ourselves up. Today's researches found that there are many things wrong with this mindset.
Science revealed many things about our nature therefore loads of our misconceptions. First, by studying human behavior, scientists found that we don't deliberately act. Rather we respond to the environment that we find ourselves inside. Second, we discovered that behavioral change is much easier than identity transformation. Third, working towards your goals create more pain than fulfillment. This makes the process of attaining your objectives synonymous to stop being human because as much as you hate this, we are reward creatures.
Does this mean that we should stop making goals, changing ourselves, and working hard? Absolutely not!
Does this suggest that human nature is shi**y? Hmm... Hell yeees!! If not all of it, a considerable part of our nature does stink.
You want to know more about about this stinky nature check this:
As the great philosopher Fredrich Nitzsche said:
"Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman--a rope over an abyss. A dangerous crossing, a dangerous wayfaring, a dangerous looking-back, a dangerous trembling and halting.What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not a goal: what is lovable in man is that he is an OVER-GOING and a DOWN-GOING."
God, I love his philosophy and his mustache!
Perhaps forget about the mustache. What a truly wanted to say is that we, humans, may not be as great as we always thought. But sometimes we can make shi* work in our favor.
Stop making goals and create systems:
Here is some shit you didn't know about goals:
- Winners and losers have the same goals.
- Achieving a goal is only a momentary change.
- Goals restrict your happiness.
Goals Vs systems:
- While goals are about the results you want to achieve, systems are about the processes that lead to those results.
- Goals work well for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.
- The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game.
- You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.
- On one hand, goals are about becoming happy and successful. On the other hand, systems are about being content and victorious in every single day.
A system is a set of habits that manifest themselves in an altered environment.
Habits are daily behaviors that nudges us towards our why.
The why is the reason why you really what you want.
The process of building a habit can be divided into four simple steps:
- Cue: information that our brain receives from the external environment. Thoughts, feelings, and emotions of the observer are what transform a cue into a craving.
- Craving: a desire to change your internal state.
- Response: is the actual habit you perform.
- Reward: the end goal of every habit
Getting rid of bad habits:
- Eliminate the cue by altering your environment and your habit will never start.
- Reduce the craving, highlight the disadvantages of your bad habits, and you won’t experience enough motivation to act.
- Make the behavior difficult, increase the amount of friction, and you won’t be able to do it.
- And if the reward fails to satisfy your desire, then you’ll have no reason to do it again in the future:
Get an accountability partner. (Ask someone to watch your behavior).
Create a habit contract. (Make the costs of your bad habits public and painful).
If you want to create good habits however you have to make the opposite.
- Change your environment in a way that makes you remember your habits.
- Increasing the craving by highlighting the advantages of your habit.
- Make the behavior easy by decreasing the amount of friction.
- Reward yourself each time you do it.
P.S: the reward can be thanking ourselves for the effort or the action of ticking a day in your habit tracker.
Remember that the greatest threat to success is not failure but boredom. So it important to keep pushing yourself even if the habit becomes ordinary. There are two ways to get over boredom:
- Make a habit tracker and decide to never break the chain.
- Create rituals around your habit. For instance, lighting candles or music.
- Build identity-based habits. New identities require new evidence so Decide the type of person you want to be. Prove it to yourself with small wins.
Plan for failure, this means that you have to be realistic. there will be days when you will not be able to perform your habits so write a B-plan in such situations to avoid loosing motivation.
Self-awareness is an intrinsic practice to get rid of bad habits is to be aware of your emotions and cravings. In order to know more about this topic, make sure you take a look at these two articles:
Changing is a must and it is always hard to make change. There isn't a magical recipe for magical success and pain is and will always be the universal constant. But there are smart ways to be successful and minimize unnecessary pain. Create systems instead of goals.
Everything is fu*ked by Mark Manson.