It is “habit” that is the essential driver of successful performance. Developing a new habit of success is not easy and requires a commitment, a decision. We discussed this previously. Once you decide to be successful in a new area, how do you make a new habit take root?
The Power in Making a Decision
Once you have made a decision to cut off or kill the alternative “old” habit or way of being, you will find it easier to do what is next. A decision, a commitment, is powerful in resetting your internal will to perform. Commitments open up unforeseen possibilities of support and assistance to aid you in your quest to achieve a new habit and outcome. So, a commitment will, in itself, aid and support you to “do” what you need to do. However, the key action that will insure a new habit takes root is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, and more PRACTICE.
Ok, I know. To make a commitment seems near impossible itself. Now, you have to practice? This seems too much, right? Well, it is for most people. That is why most people don’t change their ways. However, most people don’t know how to think about decisions, commitments, and new habits. You are learning that to commit, to decide, is to “just do it.” You don’t hear anything in that about having a good story, excuse, explanation, or reason to decide. You are hearing to forget those, no matter how “good” they are or reasonable, etc. You are hearing to forget them and just decide to do what you know you “should” do.
This is critical. You “should” do it? Somehow you have come to the thinking that it is best if you change your ways. You have come to reason that you should be different, that you should do things differently, and that to be successful you cannot continue doing what you have been doing and achieve the performance you desire. So, you are at that point of decision. Do you jump in fully or do you “try” it out for a while? You already know that if you keep your options, alternatives, open, you will most likely fall back into your “old” ways. You know that. I know that. We all know that. Who are you fooling?
You are now learning that you must cut off, kill the alternative. You must decide. You must make a commitment, and yet, you waiver. What is in your way? You know. We have already identified what is in the way. It is “old” ways of thinking, being, and doing. Old habits. THOSE again? Yes.
Ok, you need more compelling necessity than just a new competence and habit. Because you are challenged with letting go of your old ways of thinking, being, and doing, you want to know what else will support you in making a “full in” commitment to develop a new success habit.
So, let’s go back a bit, instead of focusing on “practicing” a new action. Let’s assume you understand, “get the idea”, of commitment and then the need to practice, practice, practice that follows the commitment to insure a habit takes root.
Let’s assume you want more help with making the commitment in the first place. What else may support a sense of necessity for you that gets you to the decision point of actually deciding to commitment to a new success habit? Let’s explore a few other drivers of necessity.
Use Guilt to Your Advantage
Guilt is a strong driver to support you in making and keeping a commitment. Guilt is a sense of conscientiousness.
To avoid the negative feeling of guilt, you feel the necessity to do what you have to do. If you want to avoid letting someone down, say a friend, then you will more likely be able to overcome your old habit or resistance and just do it. You know not to get caught up in trying to explain why you didn’t do it, or give a good story. You would rather just do it and avoid the guilt.
Since guilt is so powerful, use it. For our example of losing weight, do it with a friend. Work together with a friend to eat right, exercise, and stick to a plan. That way you build in a commitment and sense of obligation to perform a new way of doing things. Make it personal so you feel bad if you let your friend down. You may also use “peer pressure” where others expect you to perform. If most of your friends expect that you too will perform to a certain standard then that will aid you in doing the same. If you are a rebel then this strategy of peer pressure is likely to work.
Sense of Duty
Another way to build necessity is with a sense of duty. If you feel it is your “duty” to perform then you are more likely to do so.
For example, when you begin to think about what you have a duty to do and then arrive at a commitment to duty, you will feel a sense of duty. Duty is compelling. If it is your duty to take care of your health, then you cannot be unhealthy in your living practices. Do you expect others, perhaps Doctors, to take care of you? If you do, then it’s not your “duty” to be healthy.
Thank goodness many people feel it is their “body temple” and is thus their responsibility and “duty” to take care of their own body. If not, the healthcare industry would be even more overwhelmed with sick people than it is already.
In our next article, we will discuss what internal obstacles keep you from success and high performance. Those same obstacles get in the way of practicing your new habit you want to develop.