Habit Formation: Physical Reminders, Environments, Keystone Habits and Habit Matrixes

Cat's Eye Nebula
United States
March 18, 2017 1:44pm CST
Sat Mar 18, 2017 11:49 Boulder, CO #21 I've been nearly obsessed with what it takes to become successful in life. Most likely as a result of NOT BEING SUCCESSFUL in the way that I envisioned for the earlier part of my 37 years on this planet. But over the years, I broke down, what I believe to be the main characteristics and the principles required for lasting and growing success. They are: 1) Learning to fuel your subconscious mind with the right images (images which resonate with your conscious picture of what success means to you). 2) Keeping a beginner's mind and constantly looking to learn new things 3) Weeding out your vices 4) Developing key philosophies, habits and ways of being that empower you to attain your concept of personal success 5) Keeping your heart open 6) Giving back in small and large ways Today, I'm going to address Habit Formation. Specifically, the idea of placing physical reminders around your home, in order to REMIND and INSPIRE or PROD you into taking the right actions consistently. Here's an example from my own life: My day actually starts the previous evening. This is something that I learned from my father and the Marines and a few other people; and as a result of my own, personal trial and error/success experimentation. At night, I look ahead to what I might need the next morning. This becomes easy, when you want to do the same thing every morning and build a habit of doing so. For me, I want to take vitamins, drink water, take a bath, meditate, contemplate, do my breathing exercises, do my horse stance, complete my progressive muscle relaxation, and my ki breathing meditation movements; as well as have clothes already picked out, read from my affirmations, and a host of other self empowering actions I want to be sure to complete each day. Later on, I will speak about another key principle of habit formation, and that is the building of KEYSTONE HABITS which allow you to more easily focus your attention and more easily attach other habits that you are trying to build and maintain, to them. One of my number one keystone habits is picking the right environment to build those habits. And the number one environment which allows me to do so much, so quickly, so simply and so easily, is the habit of taking a bath every morning. The bathroom has become a hub, of sorts, for helping me to attach other habits that I want to design into my overall HABIT MATRIX. A habit matrix is simply a web of self-supporting habit structures or systems which allow you to continually build more and more empowering habits. The more you have, the easier and more rapidly you can build the next habit. Eventually, you come to a point where you no longer think of building a habit as something that is difficult to do, or something that takes so many days, weeks, months or whatever to accomplish; but rather, you see a habit as something naturally occurring... something which becomes quite organic to your life - very non-threatening. For most of us, this would be a dream come true - to be able to change or alter course so rapidly, so consistently, and with so much ease; but PRE-PLANNING is what allows you to do that, where so many others try and fail over and over again. So, back to the importance of physical reminders. We are mostly visual creatures, using our eyes, the majority of the time to process incoming information. We can use this to our advantage by placing visual cues around our home in pre-determined environments. This will be the FIRST sense impression that alerts us to what we need to do, and will serve as the first link in the tiny but OH SO STRONG SEQUENCED chain of cause and effect which will ultimately create a very strong URGE to complete the sequence. Walking into the environment will automatically set up a series of associations with that environment, then LOOKING around the environment, our eyes will take in the various objects that are serving as our physical reminders. When we see these cues, we go over and TOUCH the item (the third SENSE SEQUENCE in the psychological chain that we are building - The first being ENVIRONMENT, Second being VISUAL CUE OF OBJECT). Lastly, we are reminded to DO something with that object - some pre-determined action that we are supposed to take. When we do this, there is a release of the tension that we were building up to this point. Our brains and nervous system will learn to CRAVE THIS RELEASE OF TENSION; and thus we will actually become addicted, in a way, to these positive habits. Of course, we do this all the time with both negative and positive habits; but because we are mostly UNCONSCIOUS of what we are doing; we have no real control over the results of what habits we are building. It is through DELIBERATE AWARENESS, DISCERNMENT, PLANNING and CHOICE, that we liberate ourselves from self-inflicted prisons of being the victims of our own ignorance and poor judgement. Coming back to my personally tailored routine - I get a large cup (same type and color every time... mine is a kind of red-violet colored large plastic cup) fill it with water and place it on the bathroom sink. While I'm doing that, I take off my wrist band and place it on the counter. Then I pour out the vitamins from the various bottles into the center of that wrist band. I grab the towel off the drying rack just outside of the bathroom, fold it in thirds and drape it over the tub. I reach for the small notebook of affirmations which lies on the top of the toilet and place it on the counter. I go out and pick my clothes for the following day. I lay out the bathmat. Then, wash my face, dry it on the face towel, turn around and turn out the light and walk out. That completes the NIGHT RITUAL. In the morning, I turn on the bathroom light, read my affirmations out loud in front of the mirror and pen any more that I wish to work on, in the pages of the notebook. I set the water to running, checking for the right temperature, put the shower curtain on the inside of the tub, turn on the shower. While that's running, I take my vitamins, put on my wrist band, turn out the light and step into the tub. There is much more that I do from there; but you get the general idea. You TOO can have what you want; but the key... the REAL key is to become more and more aware and use that power of CHOICE and PLANNING to unlock your potential. So, that's it for this article. Hope you enjoyed it. Just so you know, I do my very best to get to every comment or response that you post. But since time is very precious to me... I work a system of tit-for-tat, or this for that. The level at which you respond to me; is the level which I respond back to you. If you just write..."Great article, very informative" - well any monkey can be trained to put forth that level of effort; so I will simply 'LIKE' the comment and move on to focus on those people who actually ENJOY writing and communicating. Be well, stay focused, and reach for your dreams my fellow star children! ~ The Guardian ~ or... I can't make up my mind
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