I’ve been where you are.
I’ve had the feeling of, “I can’t wait to start the new year with this new habit.” Maybe it’s writing. Maybe it’s working out.
What happens after a month? It tends to drift, that commitment, that memory, that motivation.
That motivation doesn’t simply just shut off. It starts to wane.
Maybe you miss a day of working out. And then you get back to it. Then you miss two days. Then you get back to it. Then you eat an entire sheet cake and wonder, “What’s the point?” And then you resign yourself to figuring it out later.
Or maybe you are overspending. You buckle down. You white knuckle the compulsion to buy this or that. And then you give in and the Amazon boxes just pour, pour, pour in.
I get it.
I’ve been where you are.
One tactic you might try is this:
You want to literally brainwash yourself into the right way of thinking. You heard me. You want to go full cult on this habit. Let’s get started. Grab your robe and gong.
Here’s step one into brainwashing yourself:
Destroy All The Things!
If you are trying to write more — figure out what is sinking your time away from the keyboard or pen. Unless it is a living being, put it away in the closet. Maybe it’s the TV or even your Xbox.
Sure, you can be a cowboy on the Xbox, but is it helping you write?
Nope. So put it in the closet.
Are you trying to lose weight? Empty your house of all the stuff that goes against that trend. From that half eaten potato chip bag to the cupcakes, trash them.
Because I guarantee — GUARANTEE — when you are tempted, you’ll go for it.
You aren’t that person anymore. You don’t eat chips while you watch Netflix. You eat broccoli now. Got that? You eat broccoli.
Take a look around and see what is against your new habit. Whatever goes against your new identity and get rid of it.
No matter how small.
But what if you spent good earned solid money on it — so what? Give it away. What about people bringing treats over? Announce to the masses that you aren’t doing sugar. (It helped when I said, “Doctor’s orders” and then everybody became supercool about it).
Destroy that old life.
Decide that’s the person you aren’t going to be any longer.
When I’m starting a new habit or skill — I delve into all the information about it. I check on Amazon about the best books on the topic. For example, I used to get schooled at poker. Absolutely crushed.
I’d love to make more money week after week — so I decided to become better at playing poker.
So I ordered the top 3 books on poker and read them.
My poker game improved. Why? Because that’s literally all I read for a month. Poker books. Poker DVDs. Poker blogs. Poker articles. Poker magazines. I engorged myself with poker and of course my play went up astronomically.
That was awhile ago (and I’m still going to take your money at your home game. Just so we are clear).
Now when I started working out again, I downloaded a ton of podcasts about beginners working out, Crossfit, and nutrition. When I’m in my car I just listen to that — nothing else.
Why am I listening to that? Because I’m someone who is conscious about fitness and nutrition. And now when I get in my car, and that plays it’s this reminder that I’m about nutrition. I have books about how to swing a kettlebell better and I flip through it a couple of times a week. I have a kettlebell next to my desk so when something is downloading, I’ll swing it 3 or 4 times.
Why? Because I’m a person who is about fitness and nutrition.
You have to indoctrinate yourself into a new belief and chip away at the programming from before.
I coach writers now and love doing it. Some will say to me, “I still remember the day that my 3rd grade teacher told me I wasn’t a good writer.”
My reply is, “Who told you that you were a good writer?” The person lists other teachers and mentors.
I’ll ask them to write down what the 3rd grade teacher said and burn the note (destroy it). Then I’ll have them write down all the encouraging things and post it up where they can see it all the time.
We have to delete the crap out of all of these areas our lives. All of the stuff that holds us back. And then we have need to indoctrinate ourselves to the habits we want to have. Those habits, eventually, become who we are.
So get to brainwashing (in a good way, of course).