How was your week? After 35 days in the Caribbean on a cruise, mine was different than I was used to over the past few weeks. Because at 35 days, the magical 21 – 30 days are exceeded. These are necessary to create a new habit in our brain and thus a new experience in our life. Maybe you know that yourself. Corona made you used to being at home and then the marching orders came back to show up in the office. It was a “strange” world for you at the beginning. You had gotten used to your new reality and had to relearn the office situation again.
What I want to tell you with that; anything you don’t like about your life is just a habit. Too much weight = eaten too much or the wrong stuff. Too much stress in your everyday life = looking at your company e-mails too often in all sorts of places that your brain can no longer switch off, because from your brain’s point of view you are “everywhere” at work.
You see what I’m getting at. If you want different results, start creating a new habit. This creates a new autopilot in your brain. Your challenge is to stick with it for 21 – 30 days. Is this easy? No. Does it still make sense? Absolutely. Here is a small excerpt from my (audio) book “I AM GRÄTER” how to create a new autopilot / habit:
How do such autopilots come about?
Autopilots are created through repetition or a very emotional experience. We all know repetition from school. Write the vocabulary 100 times, and you’ll remember it better.
The emotional experience is way faster. It doesn’t matter if you experience something pleasant or unpleasant. Imagine that you’re walking along a brown wooden fence as a child. It’s a sunny day, and you’re on your way home. You hum a song and jump happily from foot to foot. Your fingers touch every panel of the wooden fence between the panels, your finger always falls into the small gap and then touches the next panel. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping from the trees, the wind blows lightly and pleasantly in your face. You will eat ice cream as a reward at home because you just mowed the lawn at a neighbor’s house. The scent of freshly cut grass is still in your nose.
Daydreaming and lost in thought, you slide your finger from the fence toward the garden door. Out of nowhere a huge dog jumps up inside the garden door and barks at you with its mouth wide open. You’d be torn out of your daydream in a millisecond. Startled, wincing, you instinctively pull your finger back. All you see is the dog’s white teeth and wide eyes, as it barks aggressively at you. Your pulse and blood pressure have increased 200 percent. Your eyes wide and alert like saucers. Holding your breath your reptilian brain takes over and pumps blood into your legs and arms for you to run away as quickly as you can or stay and fight.
That one moment of shock can give you such a powerful learning curve that you won’t be a friend to dogs for the rest of your life. The situation did not have to be repeated ten times. One second and a very emotional experience was enough to create a new autopilot.
Now you know how to create a new habit. Repetition, repetition, repetition or the association with a strong (positive) emotion.