Whenever you see someone who’s great at something, whether it’s lifting weights, programming, or whatever it is; What you’re actually seeing is someone who’s trained a handful of habits.
Most people think discipline and habit are the same thing, but they’re not. The big difference is that a Habit does not take effort! When a habit is trained, it’s hard to not do it. For example, imagine not brushing your teeth in the morning. It would feel weird to not do it because it’s a formed habit.
Habit formation is something I struggled with for a long time but may be one of the most important things I learned. This is key if you are stuck with a bad habit or simply want to form a new one. There’s a lot of ways to form habits, but the one I’ll be covering is “Immersion Training”.
What is Immersion Training?
Imagine you want to learn a new language. The best way to do this is by moving to a place where the language is spoken. You are ‘immersing’ yourself in the language and therefore, will pick it up a lot quicker.
The same goes for a habit! The best way that I found to form a habit is to do it every day. Studies show that the magic number is about 30 days. After these 30 days, it will basically become effortless to do whatever habit you’ve trained.
How to follow through!
Simply just telling yourself you’re going to do it for 30 days is not enough. In fact, most people fail to form a habit because they just do that. You need some sort of physical representation to keep you accountable!
The way I do it is I have a big calendar in my room and I simply cross off each day after I perform the habit. You can do it however you like, some people prefer to use a journal. The only rule is, you cannot skip a day when doing this. If you miss a day, you can’t just cross it off or start on the next day. You do not want to train a bad habit! So if you miss one day, you have to erase everything and start over. Skipping a day is called “breaking the chain”, do not break the chain!
Last month I tried to train the habit of meditating 20 mins every day. Unfortunately, I was really busy that month and broke the chain. I failed to follow through on the 18th because I was busy with packing and school work. Instead of cheating and crossing out the day, I erased all my progress and started fresh.
It’s kind of hard to stay accountable sometimes, but the goal is to just do it for 30 days. So a day after I returned from Pennsylvania I erased all progress and started fresh. Here’s what it looks as of Feb 3rd:
As you can see, I’ve done it for 12 days in a row now. In the beginning, I struggled to meditate and would have random thoughts pretty much the whole 20 mins. Now I get about 11–15 mins of solid prescience. It still takes a little willpower to follow through but I know eventually it won’t.
The Pain Period
There is, of course, a pain period you will have to go through and everyone goes through it. It takes time to adjust to a new habit! Don’t worry, the pain period is temporary and well worth it.
Consider this an initial investment for the return of forming a new habit. On average the pain period lasts about 14 days. It’s not that bad, right? Do you think it can be somewhat enjoyable?
Actually, the pain part of it can be avoided entirely. It pretty much has to do with how you frame it in your mind. For example, let’s say you struggle with waking up early every day. What if I gave you a million dollars if you woke up early for 30 days in a row. Would it be hard to do it for 30 days? No! You would wake up every day knowing you are going to get a million dollars soon.
This idea relates well to a paragon. All successful people have a paragon. This is basically someone they look up to or strive to be like. What this does is it shows you the end result of what your hard work will become. It allows you to visualize what the outcome will be so you can push yourself to enjoy the pain period now.
To wrap things up, first off, I would like to say thanks for reading this. The main goal when I made this was to help others who struggle to form habits or get rid of bad ones. This method turned out to be very useful in my life, in fact, I built a few habits because of it, so I hope it can do the same to yours. Implement away and feel free to send me a message if you have any questions. Thanks again for taking the time to read it and I wish you the best of luck.