Does any of this sound familiar?
- “Oh I worked out today, so I earned this piece of cake.”
- “I’ll just have a few Peanut M&M’s. Okay one more…”
- “Calories don’t count on your birthday!”
- “That food is going to waste if somebody doesn’t eat it.”
We humans are incredibly talented creatures; unfortunately, one of the things we’re most talented at is rationalizing irrational, counterproductive, unhealthy behavior!
If you’re in the process of trying to build new habits, your first three weeks are the most important – succeeding in those three weeks will allow you to build momentum and give yourself the best chance of actually following through. If you spend those three weeks making compromises, rationalizing bad behavior with “I earned this,” you’re far more likely to justify bad behavior later, falling apart and skidding back to square one.
Today, you’re going to become a robot.
Why Robots Rule
Robots don’t have emotions.
Yes, I understand that the day that robots become self-aware will be the day humankind is doomed, but until then, robots have to follow a set of rules that govern their behavior.
“If ________________, then __________________.”
For thousands upon thousands of equations and situations…
If you tell a Robot to beep every 30 minutes, it will beep every thirty minutes. If you tell it to compact the trash when you press a button, the trash will get compacted when you press that button.
- They don’t think, they just do.
- They don’t say “just this once.”
- They don’t feel sorry for themselves.
- They don’t give up after a breakdown; they get fixed and start working again.
Now, obviously we are not robots (most of us, anyway), and emotions are part of what make us so great, contrary to what the Tetragrammaton Council will tell you.
However, emotions are what get in the way when we try to make healthy and positive changes to our life!
For that reason, today I want you to start thinking more like a Robot.
How to Become an Automaton
Create a set of rules that you’ll live by for the next three weeks.
If _____________, then ________________.
Remove emotion from the equation until your decisions become automatic. Seriously, write down your rules. Here are some examples:
- If I am offered ice cream or cake at work, then I will say, “thank you but I’m allergic.”
- If I wake up and my alarm goes off at 7AM, then I will get out of bed immediately and go for a 15 minute walk.
- If I get hungry in between meals, then I will go get a really big glass of water and walk around the office.
- If I come home from work, then I will immediately go exercise before sitting down on the couch to watch TV.
- If I plan on losing weight, then I will only eat THESE foods and not anything else.
Instead of dealing with the brain and our emotions that fight us every step of the way, you are now a freakin’ robot – the decisions made above aren’t depriving you of anything….it’s just what you do now.
This is the reason why the Paleo Diet is so successful for so many people. Instead of eating smaller portions of foods that they know they have absolutely no defense against, they are only allowed to eat certain, healthy foods. No calorie counting (which requires willpower on its own to actually follow through), no “just one,” it’s just WHAT YOU DO NOW!
Another tip – simple robots with one function are so much less complicated to repair and fix. Simple robots with one function don’t break down as often, don’t have as many moving parts, and are more likely to just WORK.
So be a simple robot! Don’t try to make 180,000 new if-then rules to live by; it’s too complex and your robot body isn’t prepared for such a thing. Instead, pick one or two rules at a time that you will live by until those rules become habits, and then move on to new rules.
Build a Robot Alliance
We try to be as efficient as possible.
Over time, our brain uses less and less brainpower to perform habits that we have built for ourselves, both good and bad. When you make a decision to start building a new habit, or replace a bad habit with a good one, your brain and body will fight you every step of the way because it wants to follow the path of least resistance (your previous habits).
For that reason, you need to start using every robot and machine at your disposal to help you turn those new thoughts into conscious decisions, and then into automatic habits.
Your alarm clock - No more snoozing, sucka! Put your alarm clock across the room, and have it play the most annoying sound in the world. Set your alarm for the exact time you need to wake up, and put the alarm across the room. Get out of bed, turn the alarm clock off, and immediately walk out of your bedroom. Hell, they even make alarm clocks to suit any need - I bet they work like a charm.
If you work out in the morning, sleep in your workout clothes and put on your shoes at the kitchen table. Start blasting your epic playlist and get fired up. Immediately go outside for some fresh air and wake up!
Your calendar - Believe it or not, I never used a calendar up until a few months ago – I just told myself what needed to get done every day, and then I did it. Eventually, after one too many missed interviews, botched meet ups, and skipped workouts, I decided it was time to start using technology to my advantage, and it has worked wonders.
If you are worried about not “having time” for your workouts this week, set up automatic alerts on your calendar and phone to let you know what time each day you’ll be working out, and specifically exactly what workout you’ll be doing. This way, you’re not left up to your emotional side of “wahhhhh, I’m too tired!”
Create automatic failsafes. Struggle with actually getting to your workout on time? Deposit $500 in your friend’s PayPal account, and let him know for every workout missed over the next few weeks, he gets to withdraw $50. For every workout you DO attend, he’ll move $50 back into your account. Suddenly working out is the most lucrative thing you can do!
The first few weeks of any new habit can suck royally, especially if they’re replacing a particularly enjoyable, but horribly unhealthy habit.
Luckily for you, you can eliminate much of the willpower required to change by making rules for your body to follow. When in question, just ask yourself: “does this break one of the rules I have laid out for myself?” If so, then don’t do it.
Put failsafes, automatic alerts, reminders, and whatever else you need to do to make positive changes.
How are you going to become Mr. Roboto?
What’s one step you can take TODAY to automate your positive habit changes?