Whether you’re aware of it or not, habits are what make our daily existence possible. Without them, we would just lay in bed all day and do nothing. That might sound extreme but bear with me.
Every single step you take and thing you do is rooted in some sort of habit, for better or worse.
Unfortunately, the majority of habits most people have are sub-par, to poor, to unhealthy, to downright destructive.
The problem is that we’ve formed these bad habits over time – years of our lives were dedicated to doing the complete opposite of what we should have done, and often times we didn’t even realize it.
I firmly believe this is why most people fail and don’t get what they truly want out of life.
They never make a conscious decision in their minds to reverse the years of damage that it took to get to the place they’re currently at. And that’s what I want to address in this article.
Think about everything you do in a day. And I mean everything. It’s all some sort of habit that was formed – born out of experience, expectation, your self-image, etc. I could go on forever.
Perhaps you wake up in the morning and the first thing you do is whip out your phone (or something else ?) and start scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, the internet, etc. I would classify this as a bad habit, and something I used to do.
Maybe you’re lonely and use porn as a means of escape – also something I used to engage in but no longer entertain (an article for another day).
You may partake in sweets (or any unhealthy food) regularly without really thinking about the damage it’s doing to your insides, where it comes from, what’s in it, how it’s made, etc.
We all used to do that, but some still do. There isn’t one person on the face of the earth who hasn’t binged on McDonald’s and Pepsi. I actually used to think it was real food!
You may smoke cigarettes and not really think much of it, or do lines of blow off of your toilet seat.
Well, that escalated quickly.
The point is that any activity you engage in is mostly automatic.
You don’t really think about it, and thus aren’t really concerned with its future ramifications, good or bad.
A simple example would be getting into a car and putting your seatbelt on – a very important habit (depending on who you ask). Yes, there are some people who believe wearing a seat belt is more dangerous than not wearing one.
In 2010 I flipped my car and could have easily died if not for the fact that I was wearing a seat belt. As it turns out, I was able to crawl from the vehicle without a single scratch. Praise God!
The good news is that you can replace any bad habit with a good one. In fact, you can achieve anything you want in life through goals, which lead to habits (more on that later).
“According to a 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes 18 – 254 days for a person to form a new habit.
The study also concluded that on average, it takes 66 days for a new behavior to become automatic.”–Healthline
That may sound like a lot of time, but it’s really not. Once you’re able to form a good habit, you naturally want to maintain it and make more!
Babies in Adult Bodies
Another problem adults have is glorifying bad habits and behaviors while making it seem normal and commonplace.
I remember a few years back I was invited to a Birthday party at some Sports Bar. I felt really out of place. It was a party for someone in their 50’s or 60’s, and I was in my late 20’s. Don’t ask me why I went. I really have no idea.
I had long since stopped drinking alcohol (another bad habit), and really had no reason to be there. I showed up in jeans and a sportcoat and just totally stuck out like a sore thumb; I was your typical straight-edged homie.
What alarmed me is when I began observing the people there, smoking and drinking their lives away without a care in the world.
They looked like teenagers in adult bodies, but not in a good way. It’s important to maintain a sense of youthful exuberance, but this was different.
It was like they were slaves to their vices, with no grip on reality, just living for the weekend when they could finally get trashed and forget about how crappy their lives were.
I may be projecting a little, but I’m trying to make a point so LAY OFF ME! ?
Again, these are adults in their 50’s and 60’s doing crap I did when I was 16 or 17. It was as tacky as tacky gets. Trashy, ratchet, whatever adjective you want to use.
At some point you have to grow up, birthday party or not. There are older people who engage in this sort of thing on a daily basis without really thinking about it. Trust me. Just go to a bar 7 days a week and you’ll likely see the same people in there doing the same things, over, and over, and over.
It’s normal to them. It’s “what everyone does” which is perhaps the worst excuse you can come up with to justify a poor lifestyle choice.
To be completely honest, it was mortifying. I shuddered at the thought of getting old and still being attached to shallow, meaningless desires and destructive habits: chain-smoking, yelling really loud for no apparent reason, and guzzling beer like it’s going out of style just to name a few.
Replacing Bad Habits With Good Ones
The key is to become aware of what you’re doing and have the courage to change it. It’s not some overnight transformation. It takes a conscious effort to adopt a new lifestyle and implement good habits. Just as your current reality was years in the making, so too may be overhauling and replacing it with something different.
Most people look at losing weight as something you do one time and then you’re thin and beautiful forever. It doesn’t really work that way.
They buy into the “just do x for y amount of days and then you’ll have 6-pack abs.”
“Buy my program and you’ll have 6-pack abs.”
“Lose 30 lbs. in 30 days guaranteed with this system.”
“Just do these exercises and you’ll have washboard abs.”
But only MY program. Only MY system. Only MY exercises work.
Shoot me, please.
The people who sell that bullsh*t make a lot of money off of fools who believe it.
I too once thought that to get abs, I had to do some crunches like a million times a day (exaggeration for effect). It’s embarrassing to think about now in hindsight. Thank God I never actually used my money to pay for any of it.
The truth of the matter is that you could do ZERO crunches and still get abs. I don’t advise it because you should always be getting exercise, but the point remains.
The way to get abs is staying in a caloric deficit long enough to actually see them, i.e. a habit that a lot of people:
- Aren’t aware of, and
- Don’t want to do it because it actually takes some discipline.
I have to what?! I have to eat less!!? For more than a week?!
You have to burn more calories than you consume on a daily basis, and that’s it. But the kicker is that you have to do it until all the fat melts off, not just some. Most people give up early on because they’re not seeing results right away.
You also cannot spot reduce fat, no matter what some fitness industry a**hole says. It’s the most asinine thing I’ve ever heard.
It has absolutely nothing to do with buying some crap you see on T.V., doing x amount of crunches per day, or (and this is the worst of all), running on a f*****g treadmill. That one really makes my blood boil because everyone and their grandma falls for it.
Imagine an obese person running on a treadmill. Now imagine that same obese person running on a treadmill 6 months later at exactly the same weight. It kills me. I’ve seen it first hand at my apartment gym.
To lose fat and see abs generally takes around 16 weeks, give or take. Everyone’s body is a bit different. For me, 4 months was around the time it took to get to around 10-11% body fat, enough to see a 4 pack. And yeah, I looked terrible in the 2 years prior.
This was around 2017 when I did my first successful cut and started lifting properly, ending up at around 157-163 lbs. I have since gained 50 lbs. and actually have some muscle on my frame now. This is a point in my journey when I decided to start over by stripping away most of the fat. I was even featured on Mike Matthews’ blog!
Without that stop in my journey, I probably would have continued doing the same crap and getting nowhere, so thank you, Mike!
Nowadays I don’t really care about having abs without any muscle to justify it. At 6’2 – 6’3, I’m around 210 and just enjoy being much bigger at this height. In other words, I’m DUMMY THICC!!!
If that means I’m carrying a bit more fat, so be it. I can cut it later. Building muscle indefinitely should always be the main priority until I can actually justify a cut.
It May sound obvious, but a lot of guys bulk/cut bulk cut a lot, and that’s a recipe for disaster if you’re not very big, to begin with. Putting on some fat is just part of it. It’s the price you pay when you’re bulking, and not one single person can escape it, no matter what those juiced up meat heads tell you.
I lift 4x a week (another habit. Noticing a trend?) and cook/prepare all of my meals, so I know exactly what’s in the food I’m consuming.
Losing fat to me became incredibly simple, but building muscle is much harder and most bodybuilders who aren’t taking any drugs of any kind will tell you the same.
Habits are hard to form but easy to maintain.
Back when I first decided to change my life, I did something simple like make my bed every morning. 6 years later, I still do it every single day without fail.
When you can’t imagine not making your bed, when the thought of an unmade bed is horrifying to you, that’s when you know you’ve made some progress. ?
In fact, most of my life is on auto-pilot nowadays, so much so that doing anything outside of the parameters of my schedule feels really, really weird to me.
Most people would tell you eating 7 times a day is unrealistic if you’re trying to put on muscle. For me, it’s now a habit. A routine. Something I just do automatically.
Going to the gym is another example of a habit that was formed quite a few years ago. There may be days when I don’t want to go, but I do it anyway because it’s automatic. It just happens. I inevitably find myself in the gym, 4 days a week, at the exact same time. That’s the magic of habit.
I’m starting to understand now that being fulfilled in life is more about the process rather than the end result.
As Scott Abel always says, “The Goal IS the process, and the Process IS the goal.”
I used to have trouble finding time to spend with God and developing a better relationship until I realized that I was making excuses. Now, I wake up every morning and start my day with a devotional, I spend some time in prayer/thought, and then I read my bible.
You don’t have to believe in God to understand that this works. It applies to anything you desire to do or achieve in life.
And this brings me to what is perhaps the most important piece to all of this.
Goal setting is something that most people think they do but probably don’t at all.
It’s one thing to say you’re going to do something, and entirely another to actually write it down and implement it into your daily routine. You could even have some half-assed goals and might get a few things done, but until you put everything in writing it means nothing.
For example, I have a strict weekly schedule for my blogs now, but this was only after I mapped it out by putting ink to paper. Soon, what I thought was impossible just a few weeks ago has now become a habit (or will become one very soon)
GUARANTEED OR YOUR MONEY BACK!!
This year, my goal for HomeStudioBasics is to write 260 pieces of high-quality content, amongst many other smaller goals that I won’t get into here.
To do that, I have to write at least 5 blog posts a week.
It might seem impossible until you write it down on some paper and begin implementing it.
That yearly goal can be broken down piece by piece until you have a daily goal that is much more manageable.
I begin writing on Sunday/Monday, and by Wednesday or Thursday the articles for the week are finished.
The other hidden power behind this is that it makes you much more efficient. You stress less about what you have to do, because it’s already all mapped out for you.
I used to get stressed out when I was doing something like making a beat or writing a post for this website because I always felt like I should be doing something else, i.e. writing a post for HomeStudioBasics, or making a video for my YouTube channel, or any number of things that might occupy my mind at any given time.
Because I mapped out the schedule, most of that stress has melted away (I still get anxious from time to time).
“I’M HUMAN ALRIGHT GOSH!” *Napoleon Dynamite voice*
What’s even cooler about this system is that you can use it to achieve smaller goals, as in the case with this website.
For PainterlyStew, my goal is 1 post a week (Sundays), and lo and behold, HERE I AM MOTHA F***AAAAAAAAAAAAA!
Haha I know you laughed a little. Even if you didn’t, you did.
All I did was write it down. I’ve been doing these little micro goals for the various other tasks that I have on the blog, and it really forces you into getting sh** done.
BECAUSE I SAID SO!!
Because you know you HAVE to do it. It’s part of your schedule. I cannot stress enough how powerful something looks in writing.
Before, I would say something like: “I really need to write more” or “I should make more beats” or “I need to send out more emails to my list.”
That means absolutely nothing. All it really entails is that I’m lazy as f*** and don’t actually give a crap. You know, like most people. ?
As Matt Foley would probably say:
“That means JACK! SQUAT!”
This is in large part why New Year’s Resolutions are stupid and fail 99% of the time.
Ever notice an influx of new gym members in January? To the point where you can’t even move without bumping into someone?
Well, it’s now February and my gym looks like a ghost town.?
Can you tell how excited I’m getting writing this?
Every thought is a single sentence.
To Sum It Up
Write down EXACTLY what it is that you want. Then be bold enough to do what it takes to get there. This is practical application. You’ll know intuitively what it is that you must do to yield the desired result.
For me and my main blog HomeStudioBasics, I want to improve my income and reach a larger audience. That means I have to consistently write high-quality content that people want to read.
For PainterlyStew, I want to sell more of my work and do more commission-based projects (Design, photography, painting, etc.)
That’s a bit more complicated but still involves writing and driving traffic to this website.
Speaking of, check out some of my work over in the shop and consider picking up a print, t-shirt, mug, etc.!
Until next time, all the best and God Bless.