Action creates habit, habit creates character. No one can argue against that statement. If you act friendly to someone once, it is a friendly action. If you are friendly to people frequently enough over a period of time, you have a habit of being friendly. If you maintain that habit for a while, you become a friendly person, friendliness becomes your character trait.
We are born with certain character traits, but most of the character traits which define us as adults are learned over the cause of decades. Through eGOvolution you can adopt new habits and morph your character into a happy successful one in months.
Habits are the keys to evolving into the type of person you want to become. If you want happiness, you need to build happy habits. If you want fulfillment, you must build gratitude, love and generosity habits. If you want success, you must build all those habits, and success specific habits too. I will write extensively about success habits in subsequent articles; today I want to lay out eight easy steps to adopting any habit. Begin by practicing this process on relatively easy habits to train yourself to adopt major life-changing ones.
I use the examples of, A: Exercising, as a habit which demands time and effort, and B: Smiling, as a habit which demands no time and little effort. These are of course not chosen at random, they are in my opinion two of the most valuable habits one can adopt.
Write down your desired habit and the detailed motivation for wanting to adopt this habit. A: “I want to exercise because I want to loose weight and be more healthy in general. I have low energy and high anxiety and I know exercising will diminish these problems”. B: “I want to smile at people every opportunity I get, because I know that it will make me feel better and will spread positive energy around me”
Ask yourself how your desired habit can fit into your current schedule, lifestyle and personality . A: “What are my options for exercise during my weekly routine, within my budget, what other habit may I need to limit to gain time for my new habit?” B: “I tend to be a bit cool to people and shy away from intimacy. I will need to “act” a little bit in the beginning and allow myself to feel goofy in order to get started on this”
Write down the specific practical steps you need to take to allow yourself to pursue this habit. A: “Join a gym, or buy a yoga mat and some dumbbells” B:” I should practice mindfulness to gain the awareness to smile in a timely and genuine manner”
Write a list of all the obstacles which might prevent you form adopting this habit, such as:
- A: “I am unable to get up early enough to exercise before work”. B: “My mind is moving so fast all the time that it is difficult to focus on other people”.
- A: “I am too tired after work and commute to exercise”. B: “I am so stressed out that I don’t feel like smiling
- A: “My knee hurts from that accident last year”. B: “I am in pain, I feel more like frowning”
Next to each of the obstacles, write which actions you can take to minimize them, such as:
- A: “I will go to bed earlier, limit my caffeine and alcohol intake for better sleep”. B: “I will practice meditation and allow myself the peace to enjoy my interactions”
- A: “I will go to bed earlier, limit my caffeine and alcohol intake for better sleep, eat healthy snacks throughout the day to maintain energy levels, meditate for 10 minutes in my lunch break, practice mindful meditation while sitting in traffic on my way home. B:”I will meditate, exercise, improve my scheduling and planning skills”
- A:”Buy a knee-brace, consult a trainer to receive guidance on protecting and strengthening my knee, eat glucosamine supplements” B:”See a professional for pain management (holistic approach of course). Remember that smiling can be a pain killer in and of itself, try in spite of it”
Write down a realistic initial frequency and a desired optimal frequency. A:”The first week I’d like to work out once. Ultimately I’d like to work out four times a week”. B:”I’d like one memorable smile a day initially, then eventually I’d like to be smiling in every comfortable human interaction I have” Keep your optimal frequency practically feasible and balanced with other positive habits.
Track weekly. On Sunday night write down how many times you were able to take your desired action, if you didn’t meet your initial frequency, note why you think that happened. Check against items in 4.
If you were unsuccessful one week, look at your list in item 5 for helpful actions, and don’t despair. Write something like: “I didn’t meet my minimum frequency this week, but I knew going into this that it was going to take a while. I am on the path, I am growing”. If you were successful, congratulate yourself in writing and write something like: “Can I increase my frequency next week?”
By going through these steps you will be prepared to deal with the inevitable obstacles and distractions, and you will start the creative process of manifesting the habit. You will put it in context of your current routine and give yourself the best chances of success. You will identify other habits which may need to be adjusted to facilitate this habit ( As you can see in example B, significant and much more demanding habits can be needed to adopt seemingly easy habits. Maybe this is why we don’t see more smiles everyday. Someone should start a movement! ) Finally you will set realistic expectations without loosing your focus. You wont get discouraged or loose your connection with the desired habit. It will always be there for you. It is only one action away from being a launched habit.