I am going to share my personal experience with you on how to change any habit in one day. Now I know most experts say it takes 27 days to replace a habit and while that may be true for many, I don’t necessarily agree that it has to be that way.
Sometimes out of moments of desperation and frustration comes creativity.
So you understand how I came to this realization, let me frame out what was going on in my life. For the previous couple years I was focused on peak performance, specifically my personal performance. I was in the gym every day, pumping iron to build muscle, eating right and trying to figure out how to get more out of my body from a standpoint of performance and endurance.
After lifting every morning, I would go one block to the beach and I would ride 5 miles in the sand on my bike. My goal was the same every day, to beat my time from the day before. I was obsessed with getting better every day. It was crazy, but I really enjoyed every second of it. It was like my private sanctuary.
I got to a point where I hit a wall and could not improve my times regardless of what I did. Most days I would leave the beach physically exhausted, frustrated and disappointed that I could not improve my times.
While this was happening I was in a tough place in my life, as the result of some bad personal decisions and was doing some deep soul searching. Whenever things like that happen, I like to read. I was reading Tony Robbins “Awaken the Giant Within” for the first time in like 5 years when I came across a chapter on pain vs pleasure.
There was this one sentence which really caught my attention. It read “what you link pain to and what you link pleasure to shapes your destiny”. That sentence stopped me in my tracks and after analyzing what I linked pain and pleasure to, I realized that sentence was the solution to my inability to perform better.
Let me explain, I had a habit for almost 40 years (it’s a common habit for millions) and my linking that habit to pleasure was what keeping me from achieving the goals I set for myself.
You see, I realized that when I engaged in that habit (we won’t discuss it right now) it made me feel good yet my thought process was contradictory to what I was trying to accomplish. Even though it made me feel good, it was actually the prime cause of me not being able to perform better.
I also realized that if I shifted my thought process and linked that habit to pain instead of pleasure; the pain of not excelling, of not being able to achieve my goals and the pain of mediocrity that I would not be able to live with that in my life. When I looked at it that way it made my blood boil and allowed to make the decision right on the spot to quit and break a habit of 40 years in an instant, never to return.
Now I know some of you will say it’s not that easy, it’s not that cut and dried. But I can say I am evidence that it is that simple. It’s as simple as changing what you link pain and pleasure to, making a decision and standing by your decision.
Now I never said it was going to be easy, because it’s not. It’s going to take some soul searching to find out what you really want, what you are willing to give up and how much you really want to change a specific habit.
It’s going to require you be crystal clear as to what you want and what you don’t want in your life from this day forward.
Let’s take a couple minutes and go over the science behind this process.
It is a proven fact that if we link massive pain to any behavior or emotional pattern, we will avoid indulging in that behavior at all costs. We can use this understanding to harness the force of pain and pleasure to change virtually anything in our lives, even decade old habits.
In life you develop associations to things that have happened to you, good and bad. The problem is that most of the association you make are the result of what you see and hear and almost immediately link those to pain and pleasure. Yet in most cases, you have never experienced those results personally. These are referred to as intellectual associations.
The goal is to develop an emotional association or neuro-association where it affects your mind and body for good. Helping you to make better decisions on a daily basis.
That kind of neuro-association will guide you in making decisions that move you closer to your goal, not farther away. It will affect who you hang out with and what activities you seek to derive pleasure from.
We can learn to condition our minds, emotions and bodies to link pain or pleasure to whatever we choose. When we change what we link pain and pleasure to we immediately change our behavior.
Keep in mind that it’s not actual pain that drives us but our fear that something will lead to pain. By the same token it’s not actual pleasure that drives us but our belief that by taking a certain action will lead to pleasure. We are not driven by reality, but our perception of reality.
For me, the change in thinking provided immediate results and helped me realize that making changes in my life that resulted in positive outcomes was not as hard as I always believed or was told it would be.
So now, whenever I set new goals I think about what I link pain and pleasure to, relative to what I want to accomplish. This way my thinking is congruent with my goals and what it’s going to take to achieve them.
I always go back to what Tony Robbins said: “what you link pain to and what you link pleasure to shapes your destiny”.
Changing what you link pain and pleasure to will have a positive effect on your life and help you realize that you can change any part of your life in as little as one day, if it’s really important to you.
Rick Corbett Jr. is the co-founder and president of PropelU.com. With over 25 years experience in personal development, business ownership and building global sales organizations Rick has brought his passion for Entrepreneurship, Success and Self Development to help create PropelU.com. Ricks goal is to provide a mobile platform that puts the tools to achieve success at your fingertips and help people live a life where they can accomplish anything they truly desire. You can follow Rick on Twitter @RickCorbett and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rickcorbettjr