The art of changing your habits is to consciously, and deliberately engrain new habits over the old.
Replacing the undesirable with the new and preferred through deliberate repetition.
There are many great books which break down the science of habit and undoubtedly have influenced my entire philosophy of life, productivity and ultimately fulfillment.
I have always been somewhat obsessed with what I have coined “The relentless pursuit of better”
Upon that journey in my lifetime (between 5-8 years ago) as I was just discovering my own unique strengths, weaknesses and love for personal development I luckily read these books.
Those three books are;
1. The Talent Code
2. The Power of Habit
3. Atomic Habits
These books have connected many dots for me and gave me the context of “why” things are the way they are when it comes to habits and our personal outcomes in life or any endeavor for that matter.
I had the interesting experience of dancing with addiction. I picked up smoking when I was 23 years old (I am 38 now) and had soon become a “2 pack a day” smoker. If you have ever tried to quit anything highly addictive, you can attest that it is a process and it is a very complex web of triggers, motivations, responses and reinforcing habits.
I had always understood the power of routine and that if you wanted something you had to first take the actions to get there and to take the actions to get there you have to deliberately plan or map it out. Then try, fail, adjust, try again, fail, adjust again until you finally came to a solution or habit that stuck.
When I say “dance with” a concept, I mean using many opportunities in life to experiment, learn, implement, adapt etc…
How to form lasting habits (or get rid of “bad” habits) was an early obsession of mine and I have had the opportunity to not only learn and observe on myself, but also in helping thousands of people. Watching and observing who succeeded, why they succeeded, who failed and why they failed. It was enlightening to say the least.
Think of habits like ski tracks in the snow. The longer you have enforced the habit or pattern the deeper the grooves. Repetition. Now imagine time+repetition. Imagine how deep those grooves are after years and years of repetitively doing some (good or bad).
Now imagine trying to break out of that deep groove to create a new path. The grooves are so deep that you have to consciously and deliberately try your hardest to create the new path, with new tracks. The first time you do that the grooves are shallow, it’s tough to get out of the grip of those old deep grooves, but little by little. the more you do, the easier it gets, essentially make the new path and the new grooves deeper.
To change you have to make the unconscious conscious. Then deliberately insert the new preferred pattern consciously until you have earned the right (through repetition) to not have to think about it any longer. It becomes you.