Want to improve something? It needs to become a habit.
Want to stop something? Break that habit.
You might've noticed we've got a few favourite mottos, one of those is: "Comfort is a slow death." Well this article is written so you know exactly what we mean by that.
Guess what, toxic behaviour like drinking habits, gambling addictions, drug problems. You did that. The web and the support groups filled with down & outers might give you a pat on the back and tell you "everything will be ok."
But, harsh reality, the real-world moves on and it doesn't give a fuck about you if you've given everyone a reason to shun you. All because habits can get out of control.
At one point in time, your brain went - this is awesome, lets keep doing this. So you did, because weakness gave way to habit, until habitual behaviour dug a hole, revetted it and even put some nice overhead protection on it. Stage 3 of full-retard.
Here's the kicker, habits can be undone. But not only that, you can use the same knowledge to create habits that will actually improve your life, or physical performance for that matter.
Sounds easy on paper compared to real life? That's because everything looks easy on paper, obviously. Nothing worth it is ever easy and here's what you need to know. Nothing worthwhile was ever achieved with "maybe's, I think so's and minimal effort should be enough."
It probably goes without saying that the majority a day is filled doing things you're used to doing. Some of it by choice, and others because you have to. Waking up at an exact time to get ready for work, making yourself a coffee and so forth. These are our normal habits, no positive or negative to them, you just do them because it forms part of your habitual behaviour.
Humans are creatures of habit, without any conscious thought we simply do things - our brain has accepted certain things, and efficient as it is, off we go on auto-pilot. Did you also know you can change bad habits? That's right, even the shit ones.
Nothing comes easy. Yes, humans are creatures of habit. But we're also, by nature, lazy as shit. Energy preservation is an innate part of human survival. But, some of our habits develop and stick because we quite simply can't be fucked to do more than the absolute minimum. So we develop a habit of minimal effort. Yes, dedication to continually improving yourself, professionally or physically is a habit.
The numbers aren't exactly encouraging, it takes about 2/3 repetitions of bad behaviour to become habit. Ok, so how long do I consciously have to avoid certain behaviour for it to no longer be a habit? Between 6 to 10 weeks.
Get fucked, right? Do something twice and it sticks, but I want to stop and I've got to deliberately focus on it for 6 fucking weeks? Pretty much, the numbers don't lie. There's plenty of peer-reviewed articles out there if you're genuinely interested, and this is just an extract from one of them.
"In one study, volunteers wanting to lose weight were randomised to a habit-based intervention, based on a brief leaflet listing 10 simple diet and activity behaviours and encouraging context-dependent repetition, or a no-treatment waiting list control. After 8 weeks, the intervention group had lost 2 kg compared with 0.4 kg in the control group. At 32 weeks, the intervention group had lost an average of 3.8 kg. Qualitative interview data indicated that automaticity had developed: behaviours became ‘second nature’, ‘worming their way into your brain’ so that participants ‘felt quite strange’ if they did not do them."
Essentially, one group was fat and modified their habits. The other group was also fat, and did fuck all. The group that actually modified their habits, lost an average of 2kg over 8 weeks. The other group lost 0.4kg. A $10 Steak & Chips at the pub weighs more than that. Congratulations.
This is where I make my point.
The options are simple, keep doing what you're doing, or get outside of your comfort zone, create habits through sheer force and determination and suck it up until it pays off. Remember, it takes 6 to 10 weeks to make those habits.
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