So far we have talked about, the difference between motivaiton, inspiration, and programming as well as the first two steps of programming yourself: start with a feeling and rewrite your story.
The next step in programming yourself is:
3) Repetition, Repetition, Repetition
This is the core, the heart of programming a new habit in your life. In the last step I talked about saying your new words or phrases fifty times several times a day. This is “programming” these new phrases into your subconscious. But it works the same way with behaviours.
They say that if you do something for 90 days, you’ll form a new habit.
But the real truth is simply that the more you repeat the action, the easier it becomes, the more ingrained in your subconscious, and eventually it becomes a habit.
Let me give you and example of trying to do this WITHOUT the first two steps in place.
At the beginning of last year I decided I was going to Blog every morning for 90 days to make it a habit.
I did it, but by the end I was so SICK of it I gave it up entirely on day 91. It took me a while to come back to it, but here I am.
What I didn’t realize back then was the need for rewriting my story first. I did start with a feeling but, as they do, it quickly faded. Without that story, that reassuring self-messaging that this was a great thing to do and would really help me in the long run, by day 50 I was feeling used up and like I had nothing to say. By day 90 I was completely fed up and HATED blogging.
When I decided later in the summer and early fall I was going to get back to blogging – you know what happened?
It was really easy!
At this point I had gotten my story straight and understood that I may not blog every day, only when I had something important to say.
And when I sat down at the computer it was really easy to rattle off my message.
Because I had repeated the: sit, type, blog so much earlier that year that now, when I had something meaningful to say, that habit jumped back up and said, I know what to do and took over.
So, repetition does work (but if you don’t have the other two steps in place it may be as effective as it could be).
4) Do It When It’s Not Imperative
When I was researching how to program yourself, learning this was one of those “Of Course” moments.
Let me give you an example:
You want to start getting up the instant you alarm goes off, no more snooze, no more sleeping in, the day is too precious to waste, etc.
How do most people go about doing this.
- Make promise to self to do it.
- Set alarm
- Get up OK for 1 or a few days.
- The first time you stay up too late or it’s too cold outside the bed – you STOP.
The reason is that you are trying to program a new behaviour AS YOU DO IT, which is REALLY REALLY HARD!
The easier way, which makes a lot of sense when you think about it, but which doesn’t occur to most of us, is to practice the behaviour when it’s not imperative that we do it.
When we learned to walk and find our balance, did our parents have us do it at the edge of a cliff or on a balance beam?
When we were learning to drive, did we go out onto the highway with no assistance first thing?
NO, of course not.
We PRACTICED these things in relatively safe environments, during a time when it wasn’t imperative that we know these skills.
So to learn to get up with your alarm, here’s how you do it.
- Find a time in the day when you have a half hour or so (ideally every day to get in as much repetition as possible)
- Make your bedroom as close to the conditions it would be in when you get up (dark, quite, etc)
- Get yourself into the same condition you’d be in (in pajamas or whatever you sleep in)
- Get the “area” ready. If you want to get up and have a shower right away, or go jogging, or work out, or write your blog, make sure that whatever you would usually grab (housecoat, jogging clothes, etc) is nearby.
- set your alarm for a minute into the future.
- Get into bed and wait.
- When alarm goes off, stop it right away, get up, get into housecoat or jogging clothes or head to shower or computer, whatever.
- Reset everything and start again.
- Do this as many times as you can in the time you have.
Can you see how this practice during a time when it is not imperative is actually training your body and mind to INSTANTLY react to the stimulus of the alarm without you having to debate whether you WANT to get up or not.
This may take a few days or weeks of daily practice before you are constantly getting up with your alarm, and in that time, if you don’t get up one day right away, don’t sweat it. Eventually your body will do it all on it’s own and you’ll be fine.
The key to programming is to do it so much that it becomes subconscious and you don’t have to think about it.
If you follow this process you can start to program your own habits and change your life.
Next time I’ll talk about the Awareness Key – which is the way to break or replace old habits.
Until then keep laughing!