In life we don’t necessarily get what we want, we usually get what our habits give us.
We have two kinds of habits; good habits and habits that no longer serve us.
In todays episode I speak about how we can end habits that no longer help us and start building habits that do, so we can build our lives the way we want them.
Listen in at: http://www.jasonmefford.com/jammingwithjason/
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Jason Mefford: Welcome to another episode of jamming with Jason. Hey. Today we are going to be talking about a foundational principle about habits.
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Jason Mefford: Because whether you realize it or not about 95% of everything you do relates to a habit and we’re going to talk about how habits will either make or break you. So let’s get into the episode.
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Jason Mefford: Alright so today we’re going to talk about habits.
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Jason Mefford: And you know the again this might be one of the topics. When you’re thinking, Jason. Why are we talking about this today, right.
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Jason Mefford: And I get it, I understand we actually just recently had a briefing leadership program, call
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Jason Mefford: And one of the first sections, you know. So again, this is a leadership program. This is for people who are leaders in most of the time leaders, you know,
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Jason Mefford: They’re trying to say, hey, how do I get people to do what I wanted to do. That’s what they want to learn as a leader.
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Jason Mefford: But one of the first sections in that program actually relates to habits and so sometimes people ask questions like why is this even in here.
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Jason Mefford: Right and and what we’re going to get into and talk about is, you know, really as a leader you might want to, you know, kind of make people do what you want or get people to do what you want.
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Jason Mefford: But if you have trouble making yourself. Do what you want, then it’s going to be really hard as a leader and as I said at the beginning, this all gets back to a lot of our brain based activity.
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Jason Mefford: And you’ve probably heard me talk before that about 95% of everything we do is subconscious habit based, meaning that you know again how we react to certain things.
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Jason Mefford: How we do things. How we go about our day 95% of the things we do are not done with our conscious prefrontal cortex, but actually is a reaction or response that is triggered in our subconscious mind.
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Jason Mefford: And so you know really what ends up happening is we go through our life and we don’t get what we want. We get
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Jason Mefford: Our habits, meaning again that those things that we habitually do will lead to certain results. And it’s because of those habits that we have the particular results that we have
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Jason Mefford: Now to start off with. I just want to say, first off, there’s good habits and then there’s some people that say there’s bad habits.
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Jason Mefford: And most of the time people talk about bad habits I instead like to say that there’s good habits and there’s habits that no longer serve us
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Jason Mefford: Okay, because again throughout our life. You know, I’m sure, again, as you’ve looked, you’re probably like most people, and like myself.
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Jason Mefford: To where, you know, currently at my stage in life. There are certain things that have become routines. There are certain things that have become habits that I get into
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Jason Mefford: You know, I go to bed, about the same time every day I wake up approximately the same time every day, the first hour of my day I go through a certain set of routines or habits.
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Jason Mefford: Pretty much most every day. Now some of those things I have purposely created as habits to help me accomplish or get closer to where I want to be okay. But sometimes, again, you know, we have certain habits that no longer service.
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Jason Mefford: And we’re going to get into that a little bit later. And we’ll talk about how to kind of break some of those habits that no longer affect you as well.
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Jason Mefford: But before we get too far into this, I want to talk a little bit about a model called the logical level. And so if you have a pen and paper.
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Jason Mefford: Get out a pen and paper. And what I want you to and if you don’t have that, then just visualize this in your head. Okay. But I want you to draw a picture of a pyramid.
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Jason Mefford: You know, a triangle pyramid. I think they’re called I saw Sully’s triangles right. The ones with 60 degree angles on on all three sides.
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Jason Mefford: And what I want you to do is, is take that drawing and then break that up into five rows and that pyramid and at the top. I want you to write the word environment.
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Jason Mefford: Below that, in the next one. I want you to write behavior. Then I want you to write skills, then I want you to write beliefs.
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Jason Mefford: And then underneath that at the bottom. The bigger part of the triangle should be the word identity. So again, from top to bottom, you’re putting in environment.
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Jason Mefford: Behavior skills beliefs and identity and I want to go through and talk about this because, you know, again, especially at the beginning of the year. Anytime when people are starting to try to do things new. They’ll often set things like New Year’s resolutions or New Year’s goals.
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Jason Mefford: And what ends up happening is about two to three weeks into the year they give up. They stop the, the goal they stopped the resolution in fact about 92% of people
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Jason Mefford: Give up on New Year’s resolutions or New Year goals, about two to three weeks into the year
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Jason Mefford: And again, the reason for this is, as I talked through this logical level. And I explained to you how this actually works. You’re going to see why that happens.
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Jason Mefford: And the reason is that into in a two to three week time period you have not developed a new habit.
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Jason Mefford: And so those goals and other things. If you don’t make it past that time, there’s a good chance that you’re not actually setting up a new habit.
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Jason Mefford: Now there’s some misconceptions out there and some people say, oh, you know, if I do something for 21 days and it becomes a habit and actually the scientific research shows at 67 days. So, a little over two months.
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Jason Mefford: And that’s why in coaching or in programs like the briefing leadership program. We do things in quarters in three month sections because
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Jason Mefford: In a three months section of time you are able to break all and create new habits or new skills, new behaviors that that you’re that you’re going through that will actually then
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Jason Mefford: Be locked in. And so you will continue to actually transform and make progress. But again, before I get ahead of myself. Let me go back and let’s just talk about these five different pieces to this picture of the triangle that you just drew. Okay.
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Jason Mefford: So the first one at the top is your environment. This is the environment in which you are in the space around you.
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Jason Mefford: You know your your your house. The, the, the people that are in your family, your friends, the people you associate with all of those things are in your environment. Okay.
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Jason Mefford: Now underneath that the environment come behaviors. Now, again we develop certain behaviors. And again, sometimes those behaviors can be called
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Jason Mefford: You know, some of these routines or goals or things like that that we’re actually doing.
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Jason Mefford: But in order to be able to exhibit a particular behavior. We need to have skills and we need to have beliefs and we need to have an underlying identity.
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Jason Mefford: And so what ends up happening again is most of the time when people are trying to either stop habits that no longer serve them or to start new habits to help them get closer to where they want to be.
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Jason Mefford: Usually we focus our efforts on the environment and the behavior at the top of the pyramid.
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Jason Mefford: The problem is the real change and the real transformation actually happens from the bottom.
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Jason Mefford: And so unless you get down to the identity level and you change beliefs get new skills and then work on the behaviors in a particular environment.
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Jason Mefford: It’s very difficult for these things to stick. Okay, so let’s again let me let me go through and maybe kind of use an example now to be able to help
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Jason Mefford: solidify this and explain this to you in a little bit more detail. Okay. And of course it’s it’s easiest to start talking about some of these habits that no longer serve us because
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Jason Mefford: That’s usually what people are thinking about when they think about habits. Oh, I have a habit of biting my nails or of smoking or drinking too much or eating too much right
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Jason Mefford: Those are things or habits that people have gotten me into that they would like to get out of. And what ends up happening. Let me, let me talk to you again and podcast. So it’s going to be short today.
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Jason Mefford: But to give you a kind of a little basis for this and why habits are so important and why that’s really how you end up making change in your life.
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Jason Mefford: Is
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Jason Mefford: We just got these are all unscripted, so I got a cow. I got to come up with, with some example now to kind of explain this to you. So let’s, let’s talk about food.
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Jason Mefford: Because I think this is one you know again if most adults and I know in my, in my life I have. I’ve gone up and down in weight about 60 pounds.
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Jason Mefford: So, you know, I, I’m fully familiar with eating too much not exercising having different periods of my life where I was exercising. I was more healthy
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Jason Mefford: I was at the weight that I needed to be at I felt good. There were other times when I was not okay. Something so maybe let’s let’s use that as an example. Okay.
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Jason Mefford: So this would have been probably about, about two years ago, I was I was running every day I was feeling really good. I’d gotten down
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Jason Mefford: Not quite. To my my ideal weight, but I was only about 10 pounds away from my ideal weight.
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Jason Mefford: And so, of course, in order to do that I was was having to work on the identity of I am a healthy person and have the belief that hey, even though I was overweight.
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Jason Mefford: Right, that I i have that belief that if I did these these certain things that I really was a healthy person and really down at the identity and the belief level.
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Jason Mefford: That’s when we get into some of the subconscious reprogramming and some of the other things that I talked about that. We don’t have time to get into today but but ultimately that would be kind of the area down below to work on that way. Well, like I said, we’ll talk about that different
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Jason Mefford: So let me go back again. I’m going to rewind two years when I was down. Like I said about 10 pounds above my goal way.
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Jason Mefford: And I was doing. I had the environment. I had the behavior and I have the skills I was running every day. I know how to run. I’ve been a runner since I was a young kid.
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Jason Mefford: In fact, I ran cross country and track when I was in high school. So I’m familiar with it. I understand you know how to do it. I have the skills and the knowledge to be able to know how to run
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Jason Mefford: How to Train the different ways to train you know how to deal with your body. You know, when you have aches and pains and some of the other stuff like that that comes on.
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Jason Mefford: And in fact, I had developed good behaviors of, you know, going for a run every day and and I had built that into a habit.
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Jason Mefford: To where I was getting up at a certain time, I was going out first thing in the morning and I was going for my run before I do anything else. So I was prioritizing and putting that in place, right.
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Jason Mefford: And I would set the environment around me to be able to do that as well. So one of the things that I’m going to give you a tip on is micro habits.
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Jason Mefford: And I’ll talk about this here at the, at the end, excuse me, when I’m going over the the the tips as well, but a micro habit and example of that in this is
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Jason Mefford: You know, if I’m going to get up in the morning and I’m going to go out running first thing in the morning.
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Jason Mefford: There’s some micro habits. I have to do the night before to make sure I’m going to be successful in actually doing that when I get out of bed in the morning and I’m a little tired.
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Jason Mefford: So I would do things like put my socks and shoes downstairs by the front door, you know, make sure and leave out my my exercise clothes.
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Jason Mefford: So when I first got up in the morning, the first thing I put on was my exercise clothes. I’d go down the stairs.
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Jason Mefford: To the front door. See my shoes, put them on, get my butt out the door and start running. Okay. So all of that was built in.
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Jason Mefford: Hand, I am. And so really, I have the skills, the behavior and the environment and I was doing good. Right. I was watching what I was eating. I was
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Jason Mefford: I was exercising and doing what I needed to losing the weight feeling healthy. Now that was a phase in my life right where things were good.
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Jason Mefford: And what ends up happening. Sometimes, and this is why I’m going to talk about resilience later but but what ended up happening is I injured myself.
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Jason Mefford: I ended up over exerting myself and ended up hurting myself while I was on a three week vacation.
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Jason Mefford: So, right off. I’m out of my regular environment and out of my normal behavior that I had been, you know, doing so good for a couple of years on
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Jason Mefford: I was not at my home. I was on vacation and then I ended up hurting myself. So because of that, all of those patterns those habits that I had developed in that I had been following for a few years.
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Jason Mefford: All of a sudden got blown out of the water and three weeks is enough time to all of a sudden I didn’t have that habit anymore and so guess what happened when I came back home after the three weeks of vacation.
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Jason Mefford: I didn’t go for my run every day. My legs were hurting. I was making excuses doing other stuff. And all of a sudden, I found that I had moved back into a habit of being sedentary sitting at my desk all day, you know, eating. Not really. Walking or doing anything of exercise.
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Jason Mefford: And so guess what I gained a bunch of weight back in fact I gained about
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Jason Mefford: Almost 50 pounds. As a matter of fact, you know, 4040 pounds. There we go. Can try to do the math in my head I gained back about 40 pounds.
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Jason Mefford: As a result of that, because I got out of the habit that I was in before and this is normal in our lives, right. We go through seasons and periods of our of our life so
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Jason Mefford: What did I have to do when I realized that my weight was getting out of control. And I was no longer feeling healthy. Well, it’s time for me to stop.
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Jason Mefford: The habits of being sedentary and of doing other things than exercising first thing in the morning.
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Jason Mefford: I needed to let go of those old habits that were no longer serving me that ended up having me gain a bunch of weight.
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Jason Mefford: And now I needed to actually start developing new habits to be able to help me get to where I wanted to be.
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Jason Mefford: And again, I’ve been working back at the identity and the beliefs level. We’re not going to get into that. On today’s episode.
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Jason Mefford: But again, I already had the skills. Now, I had to be able to work as well on the behavior and change the environment around me.
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Jason Mefford: And so again, remember those micro habits from before. I just have to make sure that the first thing I do when I get up is I get my butt out the door.
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Jason Mefford: And I start going right now, again, we talked a little bit at the beginning about good habits versus habits that no longer serve you. How do you know the difference.
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Jason Mefford: Well, if something that you’re doing is not helping you get closer to where you want to be, then it’s probably a habit that is no longer serving you. Okay, so let me say that again.
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Jason Mefford: If, if something you are doing is holding you back or is not allowing you to get closer to where you want to be.
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Jason Mefford: It’s probably a habit that no longer serves you, that you need to get rid of. And you need to develop a new habit that does help you get closer to where you want to be.
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Jason Mefford: So good habits are those things that help us get closer and make progress every day to get to where we want to be. Because again, as I told you we don’t get what we want.
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Jason Mefford: We get our habits, we get the things that we actually do. And so we have to create those habits to help us get to what we want. Okay.
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Jason Mefford: So hopefully that makes sense. That makes sense so far. Right. And as I, as I told you before, you know, 95% of what we do is all brain habit based
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Jason Mefford: And so again, looking at the things that you’re doing. Looking at the habits that you have. Whether or not they’re getting you closer or further away from where you want to be will help you to determine what it is that you want to do.
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Jason Mefford: Now as I try to do on on each of the podcasts. Let me give you some tips right to walk away with this. Because again, sometimes you, you may have
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Jason Mefford: habits that no longer serve you, that you want to stop. And again, sometimes when we try to stop doing certain things.
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Jason Mefford: Our subconscious brain is so used to doing it that when we stop it, thanks for trying to kill it kill us or hurt ourselves. Okay. And so it is in the background, trying to fight.
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Jason Mefford: That conscious thought of having you do something different. And so here is a little hack on that.
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Jason Mefford: You can do something called a pattern interrupt or use things like micro habits to help you either start or stop certain things.
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Jason Mefford: So what is a pattern interrupt a pattern interrupt is is doing something that interrupts your normal pattern of what you’re doing.
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Jason Mefford: So for example, you know, if we go back to the running example that I had. Well, I had, I had my shoes at the one place in front of the front door.
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Jason Mefford: Well, if you really want to pattern interrupt put those shoes like in your bedroom doorway. And so as you get up and start to walk out your door of your bedroom you step on your shoes and you see that the there.
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Jason Mefford: That’s going to be a pattern interrupt because it’s something that’s different, that’s outside of your regular routine.
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Jason Mefford: And as you put those pattern interrupts into it and then you start applying or doing that. Right. So again, if I took my shoes.
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Jason Mefford: And I put them in the doorway of my bedroom. When I try to leave my bedroom. I’m going to see them, or I’m going to trip over them.
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Jason Mefford: If I start getting in the habit of picking up those shoes and putting on my shoes and socks at that point.
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Jason Mefford: That becomes a micro habit. So not only is it a pattern interrupt to stop me from what I was used to doing the pattern that I was used to doing.
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Jason Mefford: But it also becomes a micro habit to help me in doing the new thing that I want to do. Okay, so you can use pattern interrupts and micro habits to be able to help you do that.
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Jason Mefford: You know, another one is is when you when you start to have a thought you move your attention, right. So again, let’s say if if you know
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Jason Mefford: Maybe if you’re a smoker, or you, you’re, you’re, you know, drinking Diet Coke or, I don’t know, whatever it is that you want to stop.
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Jason Mefford: Every time you start to have a thought or a feeling that says, oh, I’d really like a cigarette or, oh, I’d really like a Diet Coke.
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Jason Mefford: You move your attention to something else. Okay. And so the minute that you are consciously aware of that urge or that thought you automatically move your attention to something else.
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Jason Mefford: The easiest way to move your attention is to actually look around the room and quickly name 10 different things that you see right
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Jason Mefford: So I’m sitting here in my office and I could say 10 things clock Einstein statue. Mr. Rogers tiger tooth ball.
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Jason Mefford: Water bottle microphone computer. And by the time you get through those 10 things you have actually interrupted and moved your attention from whatever it was that you’re thinking about. Okay.
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Jason Mefford: Another thing, the micro habits that kind of goes along with the micro habits is kind of a two second rule.
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Jason Mefford: If, if it’s going to take you more than two or three seconds to do something, it’s probably not going to be broken in your pattern.
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Jason Mefford: And so, for example, that’s why in my office. You can see I have a guitar sitting here that you can actually see in the camera.
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Jason Mefford: I’ve got another guitar in the corner that you can’t see, but they’re sitting out there, honest stand where I can see them.
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Jason Mefford: Because in less than two seconds I can turn around. Grab that guitar and start playing
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Jason Mefford: So again, if I want to have a habit of playing the guitar. I want to make sure that it’s within my reach or within two seconds.
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Jason Mefford: If I was sitting here and thinking, hey, I really want to play the guitar, but I have to go down the hallway to the storage room.
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Jason Mefford: Open up my guitar case, take out my guitar, get it ready. That’s too much time and I’m probably not going to do it.
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Jason Mefford: So the 10 second rule that I use with the guitar, you can do with lots of different things is a similar example to a micro habit to be able to help you again and starting or breaking some of these particular habits.
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Jason Mefford: So with that, I’m going to wrap up this week. But again, just as I told you to begin with, the more the more that I get into this, the more that I learn. And the more that I have actually practiced this myself.
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Jason Mefford: And have helped people using habits as well as one of the ways to help be able to transform their life.
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Jason Mefford: I’ll tell you all the willpower in the world won’t get you what you want all the wanting and wishing and dreaming in the world won’t get you what you want.
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Jason Mefford: To get what you want at the at the baseline, you have to have the identity, the beliefs, the skills, the behavior and the environment in order to be able to get what you want.
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Jason Mefford: And the best way to do that is actually by developing and sticking to those routines and habits because at the end of the day, we don’t get what we want. We get the results of our habits.
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Jason Mefford: So with that, my friends. Have a great rest of your week and I’ll see you on the next episode of jam with Jason. See ya.