I am writing this post concerning our habit patterns. How do we change?

It has been the question throughout my life, or let’s be honest, a problem. Like a serial procrastinator, I will pick up something, work on it for a few days, then drop motivation, and then chuck it all in a bin. Surprisingly, I don’t do that with my paid work. I finish the work that I set my mind on getting done. So what’s the difference? What has changed?

Few pointers come to my mind when I think about how to change for better:

  • Need: I get paid for it (the most important point, I guess)
  • Fear: I can imagine that without it my life will be not as good
  • Responsibility: I am answerable to someone for work 
  • Passion: My work means something to me, I enjoy it
  • Resistance: Usually, no resistance to work from family and friends 
  • Identity: I think the work we do makes us what we are (it shapes our ‘friend’ choices, family culture, opportunities, dreams)
  • Buddy: When you are answerable to someone about regular progress 

How do I use these pointers to achieve personal goals? How do I incorporate these ideas to channelise my creative energy better?

 Need: How do I create value for ‘personal growth’ work, which could be exercise, new venture planning, writing, etc?

 If it’s about writing, just write and share on a platform of your choice. In which case, people on the platform usually support and give feedback, the in turn gives us a connection to the outer world. This process inspires us to do more work. I wrote my first post yesterday, couple of people commented on it and said these are some excellent observations, that inspired me to write 24 hours later again.

For exercising, we can keep a score of energy that we feel during the day, when we exercise in the morning. It is quite surprising that in two weeks, we can feel a noticeable difference, which eventually becomes necessary for the workday.

Results of the work done inspire us to do that activity daily. Here’s what helps bring about a change: 

Fear: There are ways to use fear as well to get something done. An easier example would be what we see on FaceBook all the time. People are challenging their friends to exercise and share about it on their public feed. You will be surprised how the fear of public judgement can be useful to get things done. Eventually, you have to rise above this habit.

Responsibility: We could undertake some responsibility in a social circle or with some organisation regarding whatever skills we are trying to incorporate in our daily life. It could be writing for your team, making some documentation, writing some charity docs. Exercising for a good cause, riding a bicycle to create awareness for some disease or work with some organisation that’s involved in activities that needs your skill. Please take responsibility for whatever skill you want to learn, and your mind will get it done.

Passion: This word is self-explanatory, but the only point here is that if you keep doing something and you keep growing in it, and you are aware that you are learning new things, your mind eventually starts enjoying it. The thing we call passion. As Om Swami says, anything in the domain of mind can be learned (maybe He means more than this 🙂 )

Resistance: Resistance can be used in a positive or a negative sense. Whatever you want to do, remove resistance from it, and whatever you want to leave, add procrastination or resistance to it.

Want to quit something? Add resistance to it. Delay your trip to the local liquor store every time there is an urge for a swig; go for a walk, call someone you love, read a book, eat early, make some plans for the same time, take a shower, clean kitchen, clean floors, play with your child or even watch Netflix or whatever platform you like (remember to schedule whatever you like, towards the end).

Want to do something? Remove resistance. For writing: Keep your One Note or whatever tool you use for writing always open on the computer; store everything in the cloud, so you can access it quickly. Use Grammarly if it makes your life easier.

For Exercising: Maybe keep your gym bag ready before you go to bed.
Keep your gym locker key with your car keys. Join the closest possible gym, keep a buddy (there is more to it). 

For other plans: Keep everything on a whiteboard or Trello Board whatever works for you, and always keep it open. If I need to remember something that needs to be done, I write it on the board. I have a simple setup: to do, doing, done. Cleaner the better. Don’t try to keep everything on your mind.

Identity: This point is important, you must have heard you are the sum total of 10-20 people in your life, and whatever you do also impacts others. So do good, be more productive; all this will also influence others and you will attract more similar people in your life, and who does not want happy people in their life.

Buddy: This is an idea I have heard from many productive people. If you have some friend or mentor with who you can share everything you do during the week, and ask them to give you feedback, it’s a pretty good way to eep yourself on the track. A mutual feedback loop would be ideal. Some people call it Friday drinks  🙂 But you can even make it Friday lunch or sun coffee or walk.

In the end, it’s not easy to break old habits, but best we can do is try the right way. Change is not impossible. 

Peace.

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Nirmal Deol

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