Many people have developed the habit of procrastination in their life. This habit is quite detrimental to success and change. If you want to achieve something great, you need to initiate action to achieve it. Initiating the act is sometimes more difficult than actually doing it. Yet once the initial timidity to act has been overcome, the succeeding actions become easy and spontaneous.
The satellite has to be catapulted to a certain level into space by a strong force. But when the needed orbital level has been reached, it will just hover over the earth with lesser effort than the initial force that put them into orbit. In the same way, getting out of the status quo is difficult and we need to exert more effort at first. Yet, once we’ve made the initial jerk out of the status quo, we find it easy to move further ahead.
The Need For Self-discipline
Substantial personal change can only happen when one changes from within. There is no other being in this world which you can control completely than your very own self. Yet many among us have not yet reached that level in which we have total control of ourselves. This is because many among us are alienated from ourselves.
Some of us have developed a character disorder of transferring the responsibility to other people, events, and circumstances for some of our actions. We The fact is; you simply have to face it and solve it. If you are poor today, it is not because of your father who never dreamed of becoming rich. If you are late, you must never blame the traffic or the weather. We must never attribute to an outside factor the things that happen to our very own self.
Problems are solved by facing it squarely. If we don’t take responsibility for our problem, we can never really solve it. In the same way, we could never blame our parents for our habit of laziness or tardiness. We have to take responsibility for the development of our bad habits so that we could change them and turn them into good habits.
It requires a conscious effort on our part to change bad habits. Moreover, it requires effort on our part to develop good habits. Remember, nothing is achieved without sacrifice. We develop good habits if we are willing to really discipline ourselves. Say for instance, if you want to be healthy, you need to exercise and eat healthy food. If you want to become a good football player, you need to practice. Great athletes became great because of their daily sacrifices in training. Aside from mentally practicing their skills, they also hone their skills every day in the gym or in the playing court. In the same way, if you want to improve your personality, you got to watch yourself. Say for instance, you got the habit of saying negative statements every time you feel frustrated: you can develop the opposite habit of optimism if you consciously try to say positive words every time you feel like saying something negative. Once optimism becomes a habit, it will be very difficult to break.
Divide Your Work into Parts So As Not To Be Overwhelmed By The Task
In the previous series, we have learned to write down our traits and talents. We were likewise advised to plan our actions and visualize them. Now that we are ready to plunge into action, we should then divide our goals into small achievable goals so that we will never be overwhelmed by the immensity of the task at hand. Remember that the great pyramids were not built in a single stroke. Likewise, the Great Wall of China was not wrought in single construction frenzy. These landmarks were slowly built with calculated efforts after efforts. In the same way, if you want to attain something great, you need not force yourself to immediately achieve it. First, you have to lay the ground works, the scaffold, and the supports which would help you accomplish it. By dividing your task into small achievable tasks, your effort becomes lighter and your work becomes easier to accomplish.
Unfreezing Your Old Habits
When an action becomes a habit through repetitions, it becomes second nature to us. When it becomes second nature to us, it becomes easy to perform it. The combinations of all our habits constitute our personality. Thus, if we want to change something in us, we have to alter our habits. Our habits hold together our personality. Hence, when we try to break a habit, we experience relapses.
Habits are powerful forces that hold together our being. Without them, we will never really have some consistencies in our life. To change a habit means to alter part of our personality. We can change a habit by unfreezing it. What I mean is that it is hard to break a habit but with perseverance, we can change it. When I say you unfreeze your habit, what I am saying is: “you begin to weaken a habit by consistently working on developing the opposite habit.
To change oneself, one needs to unfreeze old habits to make way for the formation of new ones. We can achieve this unfreezing by constantly being aware of ourselves, our actions, and our behavior.
Never Give Up When Problems And Hurdles Arise
Regular awareness of one’s behavior allows for behavior modification. Yet, along the way, you will be frustrated if you experience some relapses to the old habits. It is really frustrating to revert back to the old habit of alcoholism when you have already kicked the habits off several months ago. Yet, we must be wary of these relapse. For the force of the old habits are still there. Remember, those old habits have been part of our personality for quite a long time. Thus, they still leave a gravitational pull like a black hole which we cannot see we but can feel. It takes consistency to overcome the pull of old habits. You must not give up when relapse seems imminent. Take a greater resolve to remain on the right track for change can only be had through consistent unremitting effort on our part.
Delaying Gratification For Future Satisfaction
A mature person is capable of sacrificing the present satisfaction for a more gratifying future satisfaction. Corollary to the nurturing of new habits, the act of consistently monitoring one’s progress in the kicking off of bad habits and the developing of new good habits is like delaying gratification. You may satisfy yourself if you get a stick of cigar when you feel that you are craving for it. But instead, you took in a juicy fruit gum. Your conscious effort entails sacrificing the present pleasure of puffing a real cigar. Yet, the payoffs— good health and longevity—are the far ahead in the future. Yet, these payoffs are more rewarding than that of present satisfaction.
Refreezing Of New Habit
Once we have been consistent in the practice of a good action, we tend to cement the action in our personality. Likewise, once we have been consistent in nurturing our subconscious mind with a new program, the new program takes a firm hold in the ground of the subconscious mind. It becomes part of our personality. Change has been effected in ourselves once a new mental program or a new skill has become a habit. Some habits are formed violently and abruptly, while the stronger habits are formed along an extenuated period of time. Yet, they are formed when we begin to freeze them within us and eventually they become substantial parts of our being. Hence, to cement an action into a long lasting habit, you need to practice it consistent despite all discouragement and frustration along the way. Rain or shine, you need to train yourself to concretize your habits as a vital part of your personality. Only through this constant practice will you achieve a substantial change in your being.
Take The Responsibility For Change
Our own development should not be left at the mercy of the outside forces. We must be responsible for our own personal growth. Change, as said in the earlier part of this series, is inevitable. Whether we like it or not, we will change for the better or for the worse. Either our environment will shape our personality or we will shape our personality. If we don’t take the cudgel in shaping our very own self, the world and the environment at large will take the step to change us. So we got to take the responsibility to gain perfect control of all the situations we are in. It is a pity if it is the outside situations and circumstances that are shaping our personality. It is like abandoning ourselves to the whims and fancies of the external world. Yet, if we take the baton, and orchestrate the shaping and nurturing of good habits within us, sooner or later, we will discover that we have improved to a point worthy of commendation, and we will live a highly fulfilling life in the years to come.
The challenge is always there for us to change for the better. If we fail to take the lead, we may soon find ourselves at a point-of-no-return, regretting our own existence, and like a scrooge, living in isolation, fearful and stunted in growth. Yet, if we take the challenge, many doors will open to us. New possibilities will be created, and self-realization and happiness will never be far beyond. In the end, we could proudly say to ourselves that we are the ones who had shaped and molded our very own characters and existence.