do-work/014/habits+rituals

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The biggest resistance towards a skosh strategy looks something like this: why would I do x if it isn't going to give me results?

And there's a two part answer.

FIRST_

Because the ultimate goal is to create a ritual or a habit. Remember the Resistance? Remember needing willpower to overcome the Resistance?

When something becomes a ritual or habit, there is less Resistance. When you do something often, your body makes the something easier to do.

Here's an obvious example: tying your shoes.

When you first learn how to tie your shoes, it's tough. There's a lot of mental involvement, which is why it's easier to scream, “MOM COME TIE MY SHOES.” Or slap the Velcro from one side of your shoe to the other.

What do you see there? Resistance. A lack of motivation. Struggle. And subsequently choosing the easy way out.

But that's not the case anymore. There's no Resistance to tying your shoes. There's no willpower needed. The easy way out is tying your shoes and you don't need to motivate yourself. It just…happens.

This is the power of a habit.

Habits are super greased up behavioral slides with no baggage placed in front of the slide or at the bottom of the slide.

You have a ton of habits in your life, many of which you aren't even consciously aware of. Do you bite your nails when you're nervous?

I clench my jaw when I'm stressed. And I rarely know that I'm doing it.

Now…

Habits are a deep subject. Building habits isn't the same as eliminating habits. Maybe I'll get into the dark reaches of habits later, but not now.

(See: The Power of Habit.)

Point being, for now: when you do things often they become easier to do…to the point where not doing them might, indeed, become the difficult thing.

This is what happens with addictions, and why changing food behaviors is so damn difficult.

You aren't making a change in a vacuum, you're trying to get your brain to cut through wicked thickets of the forest when there's already paved pathways.

It's not an easy thing to do.


Similar to habits are rituals. (This is sort of my own spin on things, so you're not likely to find what's below anywhere else.)

Rituals are like habits, but they're…heavier.

They're similar to habits in that the more you perform a ritual, the more likely you are to continue performing a ritual.

But the difference: habits are quick, and they aren't second guessed. They become easy and thoughtless.

Rituals become easier, but aren't always “easy.”

A ritual you probably have in your life: going to work every morning.

Going to work isn't something that happens at the snap of the finger. It's something that, in all likelihood, wilhappen…but sometimes you need to rock the cradle back and forth before it tips over.

SNOOZE BUTTON.

Rituals are driven by obligation. They are things we (eventually) perceive to be mandatory and we don't feel right if we don't do them no matter how we really feel about the ritual itself.

For instance, I used to be a stock dude at Office Max. I worked there for eight (!) years throughout high school and college. I barely made more than minimum wage.

I liked what I did, but I knew my job there wasn't my “career.” It wasn't a job I needed to care about.

But I did. I only called off three times in my eight year working span, and I felt terrible when I did.

Training, for me, is a ritual. It's not something I always enjoy doing. I struggle to motivate myself many days. But it's a ritual.

There's some strange thing inside of me that feels guilty, something that makes me feel like it's my obligation to train.

Something that says, You are the type of person that doesn't skip training sessions, and so you better get up and go in order to maintain this self-identity of yours. 

And the only reason that feeling is there is because I've trained regularly for so long.

015 →

MAYBE YOU’RE A SUCKER


You can’t fool me.

I know this isn’t your first rodeo, trying to lose fat, build muscle, and build a body you’re proud of.

But you’re not a quitter, which is why you’re here.

You might be a little lost right now.

Maybe you don’t have much motivation.

Maybe you don’t what program or diet to use.

I don’t know…

But what I do know is this:

Everything you need is inside of you.

You’re capable of more than know.

You just have to open your eyes.

My weekly column can help.

Just a small little honest note from me sent every Sunday.

Unless I’m hungover.

And then it comes Monday.

What I’m trying to say is that it’ll come Monday.

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