Using the Past to Form New Habits

Is there anything that you want to do consistently, but you don’t? Anything that you don’t want to do, but you keep doing? Welcome to the human race. Will power comes in handy when trying to be a better you.

Bye Bye Sucka!

I’ve stayed away from blogging a lot longer than I had originally intended to. I stayed away for so long, that I dreaded opening up my account because I was scared to look at the low readership. I got out of the swing of it, and the longer I stayed away, the bigger of a mountain it seemed that I had to climb to get back to it. This sort of thing happens to us all, I’ve noticed.

As the days turn from present to past, it’s like they build up and weigh heavy on us, making it harder to resume our discipline, whether its staying in the gym, staying away from cigarettes, or working on that special hobby every day. A textbook practice I learned on this matter is to always remember that the damage comes not from screwing up a day of your diet, habit, or routine, but rather it comes from the mental beating you give yourself when you mess up. That is likely to last a few more days, not to mention cause you grief. So the basic takeaway on that one there is really to just stop worrying and jump back on the horse and forget you ever fell off.

But can we use that power of dwelling in the past to benefit us, rather than weigh us down? You know, switch it on ’em?

Yes! I discovered a simple way that I’ll share with you for free: keeping a public count of days on track with a new habit. The beauty of this is you use your momentum to keep you on your routine. I’ll explain using personal examples:

I am done with cigarettes

I came back from Trinidad & Tobago, and chose to optimize my health: “How far can I take my health in the positive direction?” So that was 35 days ago, and every day I update the count on my Blackberry Messenger status so my friends can see. As the days go by, I love watching the number rise, and if someone offered me a cigarette tonight, the first thought I’d have is “Man, I’d have to reset that ’35 days’ back to zero…” It ends up gaining strength as I go.

I am done with pornography

I became sick of the warping effect porn was having on my mind–it really desensitizes a person to the sacred nature of sex and the human body. I don’t want anyone telling me how that part of my life should look like or go, especially not the citizens on those websites (hit me up if you need a few links though!). So, I also started a count–20 days ago–for days without looking at pornography. I like keeping my sexual energy focused where it belongs–on my pet dog. Just kidding, I don’t even have a dog. I also post this count on my Blackberry Messenger status for my friends to see. Keeps me honest!

I want to write

So write I will. Man, I became so caught up with my writing, the quality of it, the readership, blah blah blah blah blah, which can be good, but not to the point where it stops me from acting. Therefore I hereby to commit to making a blog post every day. Some days might be good, others might be horrible, but it’s okay–I accept that and I trust that over time I will improve. If I feel free to talk, let me feel free to write. Additionally, I choose to not care too much about how my blog goes for at least a year or two. I have a few inspiring friends I hope to share with you later that have inadvertently taught me that nothing ever happens over night. “Everything worth having is worth waiting for,” “work for 10 years and become an overnight success,” these inspiring friends put in serious time without expecting results quickly, and as time passes, they reap the rewards. So you all can watch my progress by checking up on me to see if I follow through!

Pick something you want to do every day, and pick a bad habit that you want to stop. Starting today/tomorrow make a count for each habit and count the days you stick to it in a row. Post it where every one can see it, and use your increasing count as a source of strength and momentum.

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