Creatures of Habit

I recently heard someone say:

“It’s not about how much you do, rather how often.”

And I thought to myself, that’s a smart way to put it.

We’re creatures of habit and so the best way to change yourself is to change your habits and make new and better ones. How does one do that?

The first thing to avoid is the feast and famine / binge and purge mentality. By saying you’re going to change your life today by too much is doomed to fail. Imagine the Daygamer who says he’s going to “take this seriously” and “hit the streets hard,” Maybe he goes out on a Saturday and does 20 sets and feels exhausted. The next day he’s too tired to go out. He bit off more than he could chew.

What would have been much better is for a guy to say he’ll take a one hour walk each day and do a set. Give that guy a year and he’ll have begun to change his identity. That’s rule number two: start small and give yourself space to grow the habit. Don’t make one – as in fashion or manufacture one – grow one.

Once you’ve picked something you’d like to do then set yourself a ten day challenge. Tell yourself “I will do X for the next ten days, every day, and if I miss a day I have to start all over again.”

Each day mark a note on your phone and once you finish ten days then ask yourself whether you’d like to do another ten, or if you really enjoyed it, another 20, 50 or 100 days. Or you can just stop altogether. If you want to stop, what would the alternative be? Should you have started somewhere more modest? For example, let’s take the example above where the guy walks for an hour. Maybe one hour is too much time. So scale it back to 30 minutes. Or maybe it becomes one hour every other day. This doesn’t have to be every single day. The timeframe could be X times a week, for example, for ten weeks.

I’m not encouraging you to go so ridiculously easy on yourself either, such that you don’t go anywhere, because there’s rule three: progressive overload. If you thought the first 10 days of 30 minutes was fine, how about 40 minutes a day now? Grow the habit over time.

Here are a few habits which I’ve grown over time:

  • Wearing sun lotion each day (it’s good to always start with a joke… but I’m not kidding)
  • 10,000 steps a day
  • Gym 2-3 times a week
  • Track my calories each day, even if they’re wildly off plan
  • Weight myself every day
  • Daygame at least once a week
  • Take my vitamins every day

And one I’ve just started: set an alarm for the same time every day, even on weekends. In the past I’ve challenged myself to read 10 pages of my current book each day.

And don’t turn your nose up at habits that seem pointless at that particular time. Let’s take the sun lotion one. I’m putting on an extremely thin layer every day. But when it gets back to next spring and summer I’ll already be in the groove of doing it and I’ll avoid that one day when I’ll get burned. Or perhaps take the 10,000 steps a day. I’m not going to stop doing that once I finish dieting. Instead I’ll keep doing it and keep some extra fat off compared to if I didn’t, and if I ever wanted to diet again I could up those steps.

And one last thing: don’t forget to make “change” another one of your habits. Let’s say you finish 100 days. If you like then just keep on setting 100 day challenges one after the other. But you don’t want to become too rigid and have a list of 50 different things which absolutely must be done every day. And so after each long challenge I recommend letting go of the challenge and seeing if you carry on without the external motivation the challenge provides. At that point you’ve successfully grown a habit.

Yours unfaithfully,
Thomas Crown

Support the blog by purchasing my book: Demolition Lovers; my 2016 – 17 memoir which covers my entry into the world of Daygame and The Red Pill.

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