Elon Musk and you have 1 core difference — your daily habits.
We all know, what we should do to feel better every day, to have more energy every day, to feel more enthusiastic and positive, more grateful and charged for life (Yes, how we feel is the result of our own doing too, how we feel is our own responsibility), we all know, that lying in bed and complaining about the lack of energy, or the weather, or some pain bothering us, or indigestion, or “bad” people around us that screw everything up for us — we all know, when we are honest with ourselves, that WE should get up, get off our asses and eat healthier, exercise and move more, we should read something to learn and grow in the areas, that are important to us, we need to start building a better social circle to surround ourselves with people who elevate us, who pull us towards our potential and inspire us to be our best version of selves — it’s all on us, it’s nobody’s fault, we all have the same amount of time, just like Elon Musk or Richard Branson we could build ourselves from zero and nothing to be the world’s greatest — it’s all on us.
How to make ourselves today, this very moment, to do things differently, to take different actions, to get out of our own mind, to stick with it, even when nobody else cares, even when nobody else’s watching and nobody else’s cheering us and challenging us, encouraging us to continue, in fact, when most of the world thinks we are crazy to even try, to on purpose deny ourselves the comfort of familiar things for the opportunity to one day, maybe, have it better, to one day, maybe, live the exact life YOU want to live. “What? Do you need more than the rest of us?
Are you special or something?
Just stick with you “normal” life! Be like everyone else!”
Like everyone else…, giving up on their dreams because… because it’s too hard, it’s impossible, only few chosen ones can do it, only special people, one of a kind people deserve that life — you’ll just fail, cause you are just like everyone else. If you were special, you’d already achieve something by now! Who are you kidding? You are a mediocrity and never will achieve anything extraordinary. How dare you to think differently?
Like voices in your head are not enough. Every time you threaten anyone’s comfort zone with your own uniqueness, big vision, big dreams and belief, that you can actually pull it off — every time people will do anything to bring you back down. Because, if you actually can pull it off — THAT will mean, they are just lazy and can’t put their sh*t together to live their dreams.
It’s all on them. Nobody’s fault. Nobody to blame. THAT can be rather frustrating and threatening to most people.
But that’s just a side note.
How among all of this can you stick with habits you need to stick with daily to build your dreams? The life you desire? How? And don’t fool yourself — there will be days, when you will doubt yourself the strongest, when you won’t want to even open your eyes and get out of bed — it’s too hard, too complicated, I can not possibly keep going! Not even for a day! Leave alone weeks, months, and yes, maybe years — the bigger the dream the more it will demand of you — time, energy, discomfort, personal growth, leadership, getting through all the hard moments and keep going.
Actually, as I’ve realized, going through a lot of it myself at the moment, committing myself to my dreams, going all in, burning the bridges — I’m in it to win it — actually, the answer is quite simple, and it’s not THAT challenging, when we learn to manage our state, our mind, our behavior, our attitude and energy with simple but powerful tool of our daily habits. Our daily habits with small investments done DAILY can bring to life your wildest biggest dreams. One small step at a time. Daily.
I’ve just finished the book “Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear. The book is about, how to manage ourselves, our mindset to actually do the daily habits we need to commit to, no matter how we feel or what life throws at us.
It’s about, how to make small steps forward possible for you. With YOUR mindset. YOUR willpower. YOUR energy. Starting where YOU are exactly, not some Tony Robbins or the fittest man in the world — starting where YOU are exactly. Moving forward one small step at a time. Not going back. Not staying still. Moving forward.
Habit building is a science. And here is the best of it.
Let’s get after it!
Even though you’ll still have to do things daily, and it won’t be a joy ride exactly every day, there are principles, that make it easier to stick with it and “trick” yourself into taking actions, even when you feel the least like it, even if you are not 100% convinced you actually can.
“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. The same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them.”
“Goals are about the results you want to achieve. Systems are about the processes that lead to those results.”
“Goals are good 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. True long-term thinking is goal-less thinking.”
“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.”
To make any habit stick, it needs to be:
- Obvious (Cues)
- Attractive (Cravings)
- Easy (Responses/Actions)
- Satisfying (Rewards).
Make it obvious.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”
“When situation X arises, I will perform response Y.”
“After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [NEW HABIT].”
“The key is to tie your desired behavior into something you already do each day.”
“Behavior is a function of the Person in their Environment, or B = f (P,E).”
“For this reason, a small change in what you see can lead to a big shift in what you do.”
The best way to condition your mind to do anything, the best way to make your mind “want” to do things and hard habits — scheduling it!
A) Put it in your calendar, b) create “triggers”, that will “remind” your mind, that you decided to do a certain behavior, and c) create the most amount of “cues” in your environment to make your mind “wander” into the right direction.
Schedule it, define it precisely. What does healthy eating at this stage in your life mean to YOU? Eating salads daily before your meals? Not eating sugar and processed grains? Harmful additives with complicated scientific names? What is it for YOU?
If you want to eat more vegetables and fatty fish — decide when you will eat them, stock your fridge with them. Tell yourself: “Before each meal I will eat that much salad” — the more precise the description, the more likely you will stick with it. “Every morning with my omelet I will eat 4 ounces of sardines” — buy lots of them, along with your veggies for daily salads.
Schedule it. Define it.
“Every day I will perform a mini workout: 20 squats 20 burpees 20 pushups 20 sit-ups 20 pull-ups, right after I brush my teeth”
Get an exercise mat and put it, where you can see it. Before going to bed every night put out clothes for your morning exercise routine. Stock up on vegetables and fatty fish and put it out so you can see it often. Put your favorite healthy recipes, recipes of salads, pictures of healthy food and fitness models, workout routines — print them out, put them somewhere on the wall or by your mirror, where you can see them often. Make your mind think as often as possible about what you want to do — the more cues, visuals — the more likely you’ll do it more often.
Make it attractive.
“The habit stacking + temptation bundling formula is: After [CURRENT HABIT], I will [HABIT I NEED]. After [HABIT I NEED], I will [HABIT I WANT].”
To make your new and challenging habit attractive for your mind: link it to the easy habit you already do, and then after the desired habit, do something neutral, that you like to do and do with pleasure already.
When I sit down to have lunch (that you already do), I’ll eat my salad first (thing you need to do), and then I can a piece of dark chocolate or peanut butter (something you like).
After I brush my teeth (you already do), I’ll do my short workout (thing you need to do), after that I can spend 15 minutes on my social media (something you like)
Make it more attractive by designing your social environment.
Surround yourself with people you admire, who do the things you want to do — we, humans, are herd animals, we like to do things, that people who we like do.
To make your new habits attractive — get around people who do that, who succeed in that — join an online support group, join a healthy eating meetup, start a challenge of “a salad every meal” with a group of like-minded people, look at social media of people, who do that.
Join the tribe of like-minded people you want to be like!
“People like us do things like this”
~ Seth Godin
“Re-framing your habits to highlight their benefits rather than their drawbacks is a fast and lightweight way to reprogram your mind and make a habit seem more attractive. Exercise. Many people associate exercise with being a challenging task that drains energy and wears you down. You can just as easily view it as a way to develop skills and build you up. Instead of telling yourself “I need to go run in the morning,” say “It’s time to build endurance and get fast.”
Instead of thinking how you are bored with vegetables — start playing a discovery game! Add a new vegetable to your salads daily, or try new cooking method with familiar vegetables. Find new vegetables you’ve never tried in your life from exotic places, look up recipes — make it fun! You ARE building your new sexy beach body after all! How fun and exciting!
Make it easy.
“Walk slowly, but never backwards.”
“The best is the enemy of the good.”
“…you just need to get your reps in.”
Basically, don’t try to be the fittest man on the planet every workout, don’t try to stick with the most hard-core unusual diet (going from eating crap to carnivore or the cleanest keto) — remember, it’s still the same you, who will have to do the behaviors, not for one or 2 days — for life! If you want the results for life.
Make it easy to start, make it simple to do the behavior every day — less thinking, less friction and obstacles, less decisions — don’t make it more complicated and difficult than the change already is. First, build a solid foundation of daily habits, of showing up daily — build complexity and difficulty after!
Choose the least amount of action to move you forward.
Design your environment, like we talked before, to make your actions, the ones you want to make happen, make it the simplest most obvious thing to do.
Don’t be 100% or nothing. Start eating veggies, quit sugar — don’t try to get keto and count macros, weigh food, chase ketones, fast 23 hours a day — won’t work, you’ll quit. Stock up on veggies and healthy foods, go to a store, where you are more likely to choose healthier foods, make it difficult to buy and eat crap, get it out of the house to make it unavailable.
Join the closest gym — not the fanciest and furthest, where you’ll go for a week and then quit, because it takes too much time and out of the way. Even better — buy some dumbbells and start working out at home. Make it SUPER easy to start and stick with a new habit.
Make it satisfying.
Let’s face it, our brain absolutely loves ANYTHING, that provides instant gratification. It’s easy for us to do anything, that gives the satisfaction and pleasure right away. It’s just how it is, how our brain works. And let’s be honest, eating your salads will not hit your pleasure centers just quite like a piece of cake or a cookie will. Working out makes us feel like sh*t often, while doing it — not exactly a pleasurable thing, that our brain is eager to engage in, like having sex. With sex, at least, some hard work will give you enormous pleasure right away — exercise, well, it takes some time to build that beach body, let’s be clear about that, fit, hot and sexy doesn’t happen in a day.
Few simple ways to work around this small issue we have.
Get creative with immediate reward.
Do something you love doing right after eating your healthy meal — maybe play a video game you love for 10 minutes, maybe allow yourself a bit more social media, or a piece of that dark chocolate — just make sure not to destroy your results with some reward, that does the opposite of your habits.
Put $10 into your “dream” account bucket every time you do a workout — at the end of each month you get to spend that on absolutely ANYTHING you want without any guilt — you deserved it! With, quite literally, your own sweat!
Our mind loves progress! Make it obvious! Put up a paper calendar on your wall, where you will put a check mark every time you stick with your habit. And don’t break the chain! That’s the goal! The longer your chain — the less you’ll want to break it! Sounds simple and obvious? It works! Try it!
These are the basics of building your skill of building habits to achieve the results you want in life.
Work with your mind — not against it. Don’t fight it — figure out how to make it work!
And the last, but not least.
You CAN do anything in life.
YOU can do anything in life.
Don’t try to change yourself — you won’t.
Change your actions. That will change your life. That will change you.
“It is easier to act yourself into a new way of thinking, than it is to think yourself into a new way of acting.”
~ Millard Fuller