Milk and Cigarettes

Rambles about stuff I like.

The best way to change habits and follow your plans

Well, no blog post yesterday. I had the house to myself, so I spent the day cleaning. If you’re ever feeling unmotivated, lazy or depressed, an easy way to feel better is to clean. I’m talking, do all your laundry, take out everything from your closet, throw out a bunch of stuff you don’t need, vaccum under the bed, dust all the crevices… Do a super magic job of cleaning – clean your room, clean your bathroom, clean the kitchen, clean the house! But especially clean your workspace – once you’ve done cleaning, and everything looks new and fresh, you’ll be much more motivated to start work on your goals or projects.

Also, it’s nice to go to bed clean with fresh sheets. Mmm… cozy.

Anyhoo, the thing to realize about goals is how to deal with your brain. It’s funny, when we’re going to bed, we can make all these plans for tomorrow, “I’m going to get up at 5:00AM and drink a health shake then go work out for an hour. Then I’m going to have a healthy breakfast of oatmeal and yogurt and get into the office an hour early!”

Of course, when that 5:00AM alarms rolls around, our brain immediately starts up with, “Oh, I don’t need to exercise. Maybe just hit snooze a couple times. It’s so cozy underneath this bed. I don’t want to get out of bed and go into work early. I don’t want… I don’t want.”

When we’re starting out with goals, we have to realize that our brain is going to try and talk us out of following our plans. There’s a reason for this – our plans are designed to overcome the bad habits which we have ingrained over time. Changing habits usually feels awkward and weird at the beginning. This awkwardness can lead to a bit of a challenge to our ego, which directly translates into our brain trying to talk us out of it.

For example, have you ever gone on a 2-day strict diet? That’s the diet where you say, “Ok. I’m determined to lose 20lbs! Starting tomorrow, I’m going to eat healthy all day – nothing but salads, lean meats and lots of vegetables. And especially no junk food!” – And then you follow this diet for 2 days, and on the 3rd day, you’re annoyed at the fact that you can’t eat the delicious foods you’re used to eating, so you allow yourself one treat after dinner. Then maybe one more treat. Then before you know it, you’ve plowed through a box of cookies and are saying to yourself, “I’ll start a diet next week.”

I know I’ve done this lots of times. Lots. 

Again, this is just because changing a habit feels weird and unusual. But this is how it must be – because you’re doing stuff that you’re not used to, so of course it’s going to feel weird. It’s a brand new experience!

So when it comes to goals, there’s 2 things I think you can keep in mind to overcome this sabotaging brain syndrome.

The first thing you can do is not change too much too fast. We’ve all made plans late at night along the lines of, “Tomorrow, I’ll start getting up at 5:00 every morning! Jogging for 2 hours everyday! Only eating whole grains, lean meats and fruits and vegetables! Not watching any tv! Reading for an hour every day!” and so on.

I have a saying which is, “You don’t go from zero to badass overnight.” If we try and implement all the changes above, well then that’s going to create loads of weird feelings, simply because we’re trying to change so much. 

The thing to do is only work on changing one thing at a time. There’s an ideal we’re all working towards, but we’ll get there faster if we concentrate on one thing at a time, rather than changing everything all at once. A gradually change in habits, over time, can lead to lasting success.

So instead, start by getting up at 5:00AM every morning, and let that be the only change you make for two weeks. Once you’ve successfully implemented this change, then move onto the next change.

This leads into my 2nd thought – by only working on one change at once, you can monitor your sassy brain and make sure it doesn’t talk you out of your plans. During this time of change, you’ll have to fight with your brain every step of the way in order to follow the plans you have set for yourself. You need to say, out loud, “I’m in charge of my actions. I won’t let anything stop me from following my plans.”

Take charge and show that brain who’s boss! By focusing on one change at a time, you’ll be much more likely to successfully implement that change. Better still, by gradually changing over time, you’ll be developing the habit of making and implement changes for the better in your life.


November 14, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: