Create new habits – when we don't have to think about what we do!

Greetings from Australia!

I am reaching the end of a two-week tour of speaking and training sessions. I have had a great time! I’ve met lots of terrific people; had some wonderful meals; and… am close to reaching the desired state of “not having to think about what I do naturally” –  when it come to driving … on the opposite side of the road! Signaling when I intend to turn right – or left! Does this lever turn on my windsheild wipers, or turn on my turn signal? What used to be on my left (in Los Angeles) is now on my right…

This is harder than you think! All change is difficult.

It takes a long time to reach a level of competence – where you can do the things that you need to  be doing – without having to think about them!!! And… to not have to think about the things that you shouldn’t be doing.

Pheww!!! I have a headache now!

And, so should you, after trying to read – and, hopefully, comprehend what I just wrote!

How hard is it to “break” ingrained habits? Quite difficult indeed!

How difficult is it to create new habits? Difficult… but it can be done. It requires concentrated and sustained thought and practice!

Think of the (good) habits that we have acquired. The things that we do without having to think about them – we are unconsciously competent! For example:

  • Indicating that we are going to make a left or right turn.
  • Actually making a left or right turn – and driving in the correct lane when we make the turn!
  • Remembering to (actually) look both ways before crossing the street. I am very lucky to still be alive to write this post after being in Australia for two weeks! I still forget to look to my “right” before crossing the street!

As a professional trainer, I tend to forget how difficult it is to create new habits. I tend to get frustrated when my class does not quickly adopt the new habits that I so logically present and propose.

I still resist saying, “break old habits!” But… I tend to presume that it is easy to adopt new habits. It is not! Not now, not ever!

Either way … it require thought, dedication, and applied effort – sustained over a two-week period before we can start to become unconsciously competent with our new habit!

I hate “breaking old habits.” I prefer to create “new” habits. But … I have to admit – it is easier said than done!

During my training sessions on this trip I have acquired a new appreciation for how difficult it is to acquire new habits. It is harder to do so than I ever said that it would be. I am humbled by the experience!

For example:

  • Every time I get into my car I repeat to myself, “It is DOWN RIGHT silly to be LEFT UP on the rooftop.” This little “saying” helps me to remember the direction of my turn signals – DOWN to turn RIGHt and UP to turn LEFT. At home, in Los Angeles, I never give this a second thought. Here in Australia, not thinking about this (seemingly) inconsequential action could get me into serious trouble.

So… I now have a greater understanding for the difficulty of putting into practice the new habits that I want  to adopt. I need to invest a considerable amount of effort into thinking about what I am going to change – and why it is important!

In Australia, if I fail to think about what lane I need to turn into, I can cause an accident. If I negelect to remind myself that my Right Turn Signal is UP – I can cause others to have an accident.

I consider myself to be an intelligent man. I consider myself to be open to  and willing to change habits.

So… why am I still having to think about these changes in habit after two weeks? Because… change takes time to accomplish – even when you are open to change. Especially when you are commited to change.

Change does not happen over night. Not even over a fortnight! But I am getting more comfortable with it each day.




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