I’ve Never Met You, But I Know This Is True About Who You Are
I would bet that every single one of you reading this has made a purchase of some sort at some point in your life. It could be something as simple as a pack of gum or as financially commital as a house, but either way, you have experience being on the consumer end of a purchase. But while the price tag on each of these items is wildly different from one to the other and varying even in their own market, each was purchased for the same reason — the feeling gained by the consumer following the buy-in.
It is said that some of the most successful people we know today have done so by adopting habits that nurture their mission and support their goals. We all know this to be true and few of us are questioning it, yet there still seems to be a deficit of fulfillment in the realm of success for most. What’s the difference between them and the rest of us? I’ll tell you: each morning when they get up, they do what they hate or dislike and get it done first.
Here’s what you need to know
With habit comes neurological cravings and these cravings can either sabotage your success or make it a reality. We have little to no appetite until we notice cookies in the breakroom and now all we can think about is that ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ feeling. Then the next thing you know, you’re chomping down on dessert at noon. You tell yourself you can’t work out right now, because you haven’t eaten or the equipment at the gym doesn’t cater to people your size or maybe even insecurity with regards to being around others at this self-loathing point in your life. Whatever bs excuse you are telling yourself is what you will continue to believe until you replace it with an alternative that is intentional and self-motivating in nature.
A lack of food in your stomach isn’t stopping you from getting up and walking around the block. Worrying about other people seeing you should be expunged from your list of excuses by making the decision to get up before the sun and go for a stroll around the block. Don’t think the equipment at the gym is going to be usable for you right now? Stick with exercises that don’t require any equipment to start.
None of the reasons why you can’t are good enough to diminish the reality that you, in fact, can.
What we have to acknowledge first is that it isn’t the act itself that you are being asked to love, but rather the reward. Much of us will learn that this can work for all of us if we introduce the right framework around each new habit. Many of us still allow our minds to say how much we hate the activity until its nearly too late to do. So the trick is to interrupt the thought and change the internal dialogue so much so that you tell yourself it is a choice for you to do what you hate and keep in mind that no one is asking you to love the action itself either.
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So here’s what needs to change
All that is being asked of you is that you begin to introduce phrases such as, “I am determined to be successful, therefore I do what I don’t want to do and I do it first” or “I’m choosing to do what I don’t want to do. I’m choosing to feel great about doing what I don’t want to do. I’m choosing to do it first.” None of this is a lie, but it is effective in allowing your brain to self-reinforce.
Don’t like working out, but your life depends on losing weight? Make it an early morning and get exercise in before anything else.
Perhaps you’re tired of being single, but hate putting yourself out there. Try challenging yourself to talk to one stranger in the first half of each day or even set up one online date each weekend.
Want to eat healthier, but hate cooking? Start your week by prepping healthy meals on Sunday nights. Rather than focusing on the dislike you have for cooking, focus that same positive energy into the appreciation for how nice it is when you get home from work to quickly heat up a healthy and satisfying dinner.
Sound familiar yet? Just wait. This next one, we can all identify with.
You’re Only 90 Seconds Away From You’re Next Breakthrough
But there’s one thing standing in your way.
Would you believe me if I said one of the products you use every day was created entirely on accident?
I’d like to give you an incredibly specific example from Charles Duhigg’s best-selling book, “The Power of Habit.” In his book, Duhigg suggests that “All habits-no matter how large or small-have three components, according to neurological studies. There’s a cue-a trigger for a particular behavior; a routine, which is the behavior itself; and a reward, which is how your brain decides whether to remember the habit for the future.”
In his book, Duhigg recounts the history of toothpaste as an invention to underline the strength of this theory. Prior to the invention of Pepsodent in the early 1900s, few people brushed their teeth in America. That was until advertising executive, Claude C. Hopkins got his hands on a new invention: Pepsodent toothpaste. From there, he decided to go about finding a way to sell it to Americans. He first thought he could market is based on the idea that it rid your teeth of “film” or the plaque that builds up when you don’t brush. But when sales spiked, market research found something different was at play:
“When researchers at competing companies started interviewing customers, they found that people said that if they forgot to use Pepsodent, they realized their mistake because they missed the cool, tingling sensation in their mouths,” Duhigg wrote. “They expected — they craved — that sight irritation. If it wasn’t there, their mouths didn’t feel clean. Claude Hopkins, it turns out, wasn’t selling beautiful teeth. He was selling a sensation. Once people craved that cool tingling — once they equated it with cleanliness — brushing became a habit.”
The fact that the minty flavor was added to the toothpaste in the first place was an accident. It wasn’t intended for users to be left with this minty fresh feeling, but rather, to help the product last longer on the shelves. But while brushers became so used to the minty feeling that they began looking forward to it, they then created a habit they once hadn’t even considered.
The truth is that we have never been after the behavior itself, but the feeling and experience doing so can give to us. In fact, more often than not, we will never grow to love the behavior but we will become obsessed with the reward the behavior gives us.
The same can be done with all facets of our lives if we introduce the right internal dialogue and habits. Remember, it isn’t about loving the behavior, but appreciating and looking forward to the reward at the end so much so that you make the action necessary to get there a non-negotiable part of your daily routine. Don’t wait until the day yields a series of excuses. Get up and do it without a second thought. Sooner or later, you will have replaced the previous habit with the reward from better practices.