The Golden Rule of Cultivating Habits is this: work on ONE habit at a time. This principle is the foundation of cultivating Good Habits. We must remember this at all times.
In the Step II to good habits we will look into these:
- Shifting from avoidance of pain to desire for pleasure mode
- The Example of Getting up Early
- The Rule of 21
- Psycho-Cybernetics: Dr. Maxwell Maltz
Shifting from Avoidance of Pain to Desire for Pleasure Mode
Both modes of motivation – avoidance and desire for – work. Let us look closely at them.
The habits we call ‘Good’ – getting up early in the morning, exercising, reading an hour a day, learning a word a day, positive thinking, tolerance, compassion – are essentially beneficial to us. You can add your own list also.
The catch is that they do not produce pleasure immediately. The pain of forming them is greater than the pleasure.
Getting Up Early: How I Did It
I used to get up at 7 am in the morning and I decided to cultivate the habit of getting up at 5 am, the task was uphill. All the benefits, I knew, come after I leave the bed and it is leaving the bed that is painful. You get the point, don’t you?
Getting Up Early: What Did Not Work
This is what I used to do till I discovered the principle of pain and pleasure. I would in fact get up a few times to check the alarm. At times I would switch off the alarm or even change it. Or if it rang, I would simply shut it down. And go back to sleep happily. My guilt would return only after I got out of bed an hour or two later. Then I would vow it would be tomorrow. And tomorrow.
Getting Up Early: What Worked
Now this is what I do and get up joyfully.
I discovered that if I enjoy (pleasure principle) getting up, then getting up is easy. I also found out that getting up in the morning begins the night before as I go to bed.
I repeat to myself that I enjoy getting up. And in the morning as the alarm rings, I tell myself that I am enjoying getting up. I roll around telling myself I enjoy getting up. I stretch, twist, bend. I make the entire process of getting up pleasurable.
It takes about 10 minutes and I am up, up and awake.
The Shift to Pleasure Mode
All it takes to shift is this: make the process pleasurable. More often it is the pain in the process that is the biggest hurdle to cultivating good habits. Find your pleasure drives to form good habits.
The Rule of 21
It takes 21 days to form a habit. We all heard that, didn’t we?
I always wondered why. Why 21 days? I looked around knowing well that it is all in the brain. Habits definitely had their origin in the brain.
We discussed earlier in The First Step that habits are formed as a result of neural pathways in the brain. These are physical pathways which control the way we think, the way we act and often the way we feel. These paths are like ruts or grooves. They are hardwired, programmed.
Dr. Maxwell Maltz, M.D, F.I.C.S, a world renowned plastic surgeon in his book Psycho-Cybernetics explains: ‘It usually takes a minium of about 21 days to effect any perceptible change…when an arm or limb is amputated the ‘phantom limb’ persists for about 21 days…people must live in a new house for 3 weeks before begins to ‘seem like home’.
Brain circuits form memory traces called engrams and produce neural-connections and neural-pathways only if they are fired for 21 days in a row.
That did put my quest to rest. 21 days to a better me. A renewed me. A rewired me. A revitalized me.
End of Step-II To Read Step 1 Click Here
Step III will discuss these key points:
- Self -Awareness: The Key to Change
- Benjamin Franklin Method
- Self-Talk Method
- Listing Benefits Method
Step IV will discuss these key points:
- Og Mangdino Method
- Meditation Method
- Visualization Method
- Affirmation Method
- Louise Hay Method
Related posts from Affirmative Thinking
Related posts from the web
Creating New Neural Pathways – Sue Kira
Related thoughts of Great Men and Women
“Only 10% of us die naturally from old age in our sleep. Another 10% die prematurely from bad luck. The rest of us — all 80% — will kill ourselves with bad habits.” – Dr. Lee Rice
“Thinking is a habit, and like any other habit, it can be changed; it just takes effort and repetition.” – John Eliot, Ph.D.