As a human, you should know what is good for you and what is bad for you.
You learn this through upbringing and experience.
From when I was 13 until my early twenties, I was pretty impulsive. Bad.
Now I’m reading more. Good.
See? It’s easy. What I have learned from my time on Earth is that you’re constantly making decisions.
You can’t predict the future, but you can know which decisions are good for you and which are bad for you.
I signed up for a gym and I’m actually going to it. There is this old joke that if you will subscribe to a gym you will never go, but I want to prove the opposite.
You can think of any excuse not to go, but a strong-willed man will turn those excuses into the thought of “I have all these excuses but they’re just excuses, I know that going to the gym is good for me”. Not only will he have the thought, he will take the required action.
It’s true, some days you just don’t feel like working out. On those days I go to the gym anyway and just do some light excercise. It’s better than nothing and at least I’m keeping the habit going.
So how do you do that? How do you do the things that are good for you even though you don’t feel like doing them?
I like to think that it has to do, among others, with discipline, habit, and thought control.
Learning a new skill or picking up on something that you find boring but is neccesary for where you want to go in life is not pleasant. Scratch that, learning a new skill and getting better is fun, but there are always plateaus that you reach where you don’t feel motivated to overcome the hurdle.
That’s where discipline comes in. Discipline is where you learn new behaviours (persevering) through punishment.
Not many parents are wanting to discipline their children nowadays, but luckily I had a dad who was a big fan.
I learned some discipline through being punished physically, and verbally. I can recall the time when I was young and plucked the leaves of an indoor plant because I was bored. My dad made me sit on my knees in front of the staircase and lectured me about how life is sacred, we are dependant on plants for our oxygen. Then he hit me. That doesn’t sound too pleasant now I am writing about it, but looking backwards it was a very effective tool for learning respect for indoor plants.
Discipline is needed because if you don’t perservere at what you’re doing, you’re going to fail and give up. While failing might be part of the process, giving up surely shouldn’t be. You are punishing yourself when you give up, because when you give up you have to switch tracks and start all over again.
Can’t you learn new behaviours through positive feedback though? Sure you can. In my University primary school teacher classes, I learned that positive feedback even has a better effect than negative feedback. I remember the time when my Latin teacher rewarded me emotionally for pronouncing “Marcus” (as MarKus) correctly by giving me a compliment, which I still feel good about.
I think there might be an interplay, where you perform best when you get rewarded for doing things right, and you’re being set back when you do things wrong.
Punishment is part of life. Those who think it’s avoidable are in for a big surprise. However, reward is also part of life. Those who think they can always get it are also in for a big surprise.
On a side note: I tend to see my psychosis as a punishment for being overindulgent, impulsive and careless – so I have gotten in the habit of thinking: “If I behave better, my condition will get better”. That’s why I keep writing, reading, and drawing, nurturing my soul.
There has been an online culture revolving about habit building; blogs and books are written about it and video courses are being made available for the public to buy. To sum up the main idea of this movement is: “People and their status in life are a result of habit, doing things consistently; change your habits and change your life according to the way you want it to be”.
I like this movement. It has to do with taking responsibility for your own actions, of which I’m becoming more and more a fan, and with producing positive outcome.
Charles Duhigg, author of The Power Of Habit, states that there is a group of people called quantum changers within psychology. These people turn 35 or 40 and suddenly start running marathons, they save themselves out of debt. Apparently these people get meticulous about their habits and it the result is showing persistently and enduringly.
Regarding the last thing on the list of things that can make you more inclined to pursue your #lifegoals, it’s thought control.
You can take off your aluminium foil hat, this is not about your government putting subliminal messages into your mind, even though of course they are doing that. I’ll save that for the next blogpost. No, this is about you deciding what to think.
I write this because too many people think they are the victims of their own mind. They think that whatever thoughts pop up in your head are the thoughts you have to live with.
Here is something for you: You can think about the thoughts you have and use that to your advantage.
If you thoughts are about you being and staying poor, you will take actions that will keep you poor. If you think in terms of the pie being big enough that everyone can get an abundant piece, indeed, you will take action that makes you rich.
Take the thought “I want to sleep in”. Then add “But it’d make me a better person if I worked on goal X”. There you go. You’re a step closer towards action.
So, to conclude…
Sometimes, you have resistance to things that are good for you. Whenever you don’t feel like working on your goals, remember this blog and take action.