Within a day of arriving to California, I made the decision to quit drinking and just start going to the gym.
Before arriving in CA, It has been months if not close to a year that a day had not gone by that I wasn’t drinking.
So when I arrived here, I wanted to do something that would immediately make me feel better and look better and put my mind in a different place.
I felt that the worst was behind me when I made the choice to move, quit drinking to change my life.
I just felt so insecure, my self-concept, self-esteem was at an all-time low.
I thought by working out I could begin to change that by looking better.
And to be completely honest going to the gym seemed extremely overwhelming and uncomfortable.
I was around 135 pounds at the time and really had no gym experience, so it was a very overwhelming and nerve-wracking experience to go into a gym not really knowing my way around weights while being that skinny.
I was out of my depth.
But, I really wanted my life to improve…
And I was determined to make that happen.
Sure enough, a couple of weeks in I was putting on weight, I was looking better, and I was feeling emotionally better and more confident.
Daily I was imagining how ripped I was going to get. I would visualize myself 10 to 15 pounds heavier, feeling great, looking great, happy, smiling, and on top of the world.
Going out without drinking, dating without drinking, just ultimately feeling a lot better about myself.
For the first time since I could remember, I actually felt hopeful.
I was excited to go to the gym, it did not feel like something I had to do. I looked forward to it.
So all these benefits were reinforcing and installing a positive habit. I was My life was improving.
There was a shift in my attention as well.
Instead of focusing on the challenges of sobriety and feeling uncomfortable, insecure, having poor self-esteem, and not being able to have fun without drinking..
I was actually visualizing myself in different scenarios without drinking, being around new people, and being around women without having to drink.
I was creating a picture in my mind of what I wanted to look and feel like..
I was looking through fitness magazines and imagining myself feeling strong, fit, secure, confident, self-assured, and in incredible shape.
Feeling comfortable in my own skin.
Daily I was clothing myself in these feelings and mental images…
Before going to the gym every day, on the way to the gym, and while at the gym I would put on music that would make me feel really pumped so I could sustain those feelings of confidence and security within myself.
I would feel and see myself in incredible shape and imagine all the benefits that came with that.
I became obsessed with wanting to look great, feel great, and of course imagined my life improving without drinking…
Making new friends and having new experiences, meeting someone I could be happy and proud to be with.
Over time those strong feelings and those pictures were impressing upon my subconscious.
Those feelings and mental images became my state of awareness or consciousness.
I was habitually thinking from these feelings and images and I was living my goal in my mind as if it were real.
I was transforming and improving my self-concept.
Instead of looking at my goal, I was thinking from it, I was living it, I was becoming it daily.
I had effectively been training my mind to create a new reality for myself, to create a new self-image.
There are certain habits and routines that make transformation or success easier, regardless of the circumstances you face.
In fact, you may already practice some of these habits, even though you are unaware of it right now.
Your paradigm Remeber –
A paradigm can be likened to a program that has been installed in your subconscious mind. It is a mental program that has almost exclusive control over your habitual behavior.
When you think about it, virtually all of your behavior is habitual. When you get up in the morning and go to bed at night, you follow a routine. And the way you eat, exercise, work, relax and the time you wake up and go to sleep are all habits.
But most importantly, if you understand how to harness these habits, you can get beyond the paradigm and mental program, then you can drastically improve your health, your work, your relationships, and most importantly your relationship with yourself …
and start living the life you deserve.
When I started going to the gym daily, pretty much right after I gave up drinking, I started to notice a funny thing.
When I worked out, I wanted to eat better. Even though I could have rewarded myself with chocolate bars and ice cream, I felt like eating real, healthy foods.
I also slept better. And when I was awake, I seemed more productive, and my mind seemed to think clearer.
I was more lucid.
In other words, fitness became the keystone habit that was putting the rest of my life in place. When I work out, other things naturally fall into place. I don’t have to think about eating better. I don’t have to force myself to focus on getting things done. Exercise naturally pushes me towards my best self.
Imagine how much easier and more fulfilling your lifestyle could be if you discovered one or two keystone habits that naturally put the rest of your life into place.
So often we struggle to live the way we want to simply because we don’t have the willpower to make different decisions. Whether it’s having the discipline to eat healthily or the courage to take a risk or the drive to perform better at work, we delay these choices — even though we know they are important — simply because we don’t have the willpower to make something new happen today.
Improving your lifestyle and becoming the type of person who “has their act together” isn’t nearly as hard as you might think. In fact, you might need just one keystone habit before the dominoes start falling everywhere.
These are “Keystone Habits”— habits that create a domino effect leading to new actions, behaviours, and patterns.
Ultimately helping you transform your life, break the paradigm and improve your self-image f.
These are what Charles Duhigg calls keystone habits in The Power Of Habit. Unlike normal habits, keystone habits create positive effects that spill over into other areas. They start a chain reaction which shifts other patterns. Over time, this transforms everything.
“The power of a keystone habit draws from its ability to change your self image. Basically, anything can become a keystone habit if it has the power to make you see yourself in a different way.”
Unknowingly at the time I had installed a keystone habit into my life a couple of weeks after quitting drinking.
At the time all I knew is that I needed to do something to feel better about myself, and I wanted to feel healthier, more secure, more confident and of course I wanted to look better.
Now this is huge, I really want you to get this:
All I really did was trade one habit for another. I quit drinking every day and picked up working out every day and this created a ripple effect in every aspect of my life..
I felt better, I looked better, my thinking was more clear, I was eating better, I was sleeping better, I was more productive, and I was making better decisions. I actually wanted to continue to improve the way I felt about myself because I was seeing such a drastic change in not only my appearance and confidence but also in the way people were responding to me.
And it’s all because I was changing the way I viewed myself.
Conversely, when i was drinking every day, the opposite was happening.
I had a much harder time getting out of bed, I had no self-control, I made horrible decisions, and I could not think clearly. I weighed 135 pounds on a liquid diet.
I had horrible relationships, I was in and out of jail, I couldn’t hold a job, I was getting into fights, and my personal life was destroyed.
I was recreating and reinforcing my negative self-image, or failure mechanism.
I think you get the power of a keystone habit. They can work for you or against you.
Looking back, what is so encouraging and empowering about this my life transformed by changing habits.
Today I choose to believe that alcohol is a symptom of the main problem, which was myself.
Remember, I grew up with the idea that I just wasn’t good enough, which my father had taught me by his behavior towards me, so I became basically the image of what he led me to believe about myself, that I just was not good enough.
This became my self-image or failure mechanism.
Remember what we tell ourselves over and over again is subconsciously what we become, and we find ways to confirm our self-image, whether that be a poor self-image or a positive self-image.
When I discovered alcohol it made me think I felt more confident, more whole and comfortable in my skin. Eventually I just became so good at drinking that I didn’t know myself without it. I drank to feel comfortable with myself.
It became my identity.
What it really did was allow for me not to have to take a look at myself and take responsibility for my life.
And towards the end I eventually became what I believed myself to be: Not good enough and a failure.
Had I had a healthier self-concept it’s very unlikely I would have attached myself to alcohol to make me feel better about who I was.
When alcohol came along this just reinforced my failure mechanism.
This is actually a very important point which I will come back to.
So now with fitness in my life, I was becoming addicted to the new benefits that it was bringing.
It’s important to recognize that I really, really wanted change. Change was all I could think about. I wanted a better life for myself.
Fitness was supporting that change. It was supporting everything that I was telling myself that I wanted: A better quality of life for myself and a better self-image.
And when things got tough, which was a lot in my new-found sobriety, I would just go to the gym and I would feel better. That became my outlet instead of a drink or AA.
Here’s the greatest benefit of establishing a keystone habit: It will be the simple thread that ties all other habits together. It’s the linchpin, or let’s say center pin in bowling.
If you can serve up your day like a bowling ball, and direct it at hitting that center pin, there’s a good chance you will knock down all the pins, or the vast majority at the very least.
For me, my second pin was reading. I set a goal of reading one book every 2 months, and it worked. The momentum shifted and I grew the confidence to take on more change.
Ultimately I ended up starting my own business.
The reality is that it will take months, if not years, of this repetition to successfully build in that keystone habit.
Be patient with yourself. And remember this is about the journey, this is about changing your life forever and laying a solid foundation that you can build upon to do so.
But once the keystone habit is in place, you now have a foundation to go up the food chain and consume bigger behavioral changes. This could be heading to the gym, yoga, completing 30 minutes of meditation, cycling each morning or simply writing down the 2-3 outcomes you want to see accomplished that day.
Charles Duhigg states, “Keystone habits influence how we work, eat, play, live, spend, and communicate”, and they “start a process that, over time, transforms everything.” Once you put into practice the keystone habit, you will radically improve your health, your work, and your relationships and take on whatever the new year throws at you.
So go on…
Get that work out in daily, and get your life headed in a positive direction, starting with executing your new keystone habit..
And shatter that PARADIGM!!
I by no means want to suggest any of this was easy. Installing a Keystone habit certainly makes it easier because you’re beginning to change, but this all comes down to one thing: How hungry you are for change. How bad do you want it??
This is your life, this is a lifestyle change. This course isn’t designed for a one-off hack to change your life, this is about improving the overall quality of your experience for the rest of your life by changing your self-image.
Any enlargement of our concept of self involves a somewhat painful parting with strongly rooted hereditary conceptions and habits. The habits you have learned over time can be a very tricky thing and act as ligaments pulling you back to old behaviors and thought patterns.
The reason you function as you do today is because you are a creature of habit. The only thing which robs you of the person you could be is habit. Although there is no law, every psychologist will tell you that habit is the most inhibiting force in the world. It completely restricts you and binds you and makes you totally blind to what otherwise should be.
Remember what I said at the beginning? That 95% of your thoughts are what you were thinking about yesterday?
This is a habit.
In fact, your daily life is habitual.
Right when you start your day in the morning, think about it which foot goes in your underwear first and which shoe you tie first.
It’s the same thing every day.
How you start your morning, how you prepare for bed, everything is habitual. It’s just a matter of becoming aware of your habits and then creating new habits that are conducive to improving and transforming your life..
I want you to become aware of your thoughts, emotions and your habits and more importantly the ideas you think from.
You can’t change your life unless you start thinking new ideas, and adding a solid Keystone habit will begin this process.
Let me explain one thing that’s been very difficult for me over the years. Although I quit drinking and things were improving, a lot of the time I perceived the world through old habitual thought patterns and would still register circumstances and people through that lens..
That i was not good enough.
I was unaware of it at the time but subconsciously my thoughts, old beliefs, and limiting self-image were not allowing me to do certain things, whether that be avoiding exploring new social situations because I felt like I would be judged or not making new friends because I felt like it would just be easier to avoid being criticized for not drinking.
Your past thoughts, emotions, and beliefs will only create more of what you’re already experiencing in life. So if you want to change any part of your life, you must first change your thoughts, emotions and beliefs so that they do not continue to recreate from past state of consciousness or awareness. To do this, you need to create a new state of consciousness and live it as though you are already experiencing a new future.
Like I was doing by visualizing myself in great shape, feeling confident and secure, feeling like i would be accomplish new goals, feeling great, looking great.
What’s cool is by doing this I was retraining my mind and improving my self image, my success mechanism. I was outgrowing my former limiting beliefs.
We are conditioned to believe what is possible or not possible based on our past experiences. For example, if you have always struggled to make money, you would have beliefs that money is hard to come by and life is a struggle.
If you go from diet to diet unable to lose weight, you have beliefs around weight loss based on your past failures that keep you from achieving weight loss the next time you try, even if the new method you are using could easily give you weight loss.
If you have constant struggles in relationships, you may have beliefs that you are unlovable, that all the good ones are taken or that you just aren’t ever going to be enough for the kind of partner you wish to have in your life.
By visualizing, feeling and living in a new result or a new outcome and after conditioning yourself again and again to think, feel and act as though this new outcome has already happened in your life, you are crushing your old beliefs and showing your mind, emotions, body, and every cell within that this new opportunity exists as a possibility for you.
You have now created a new belief that it is all possible and it is already your reality, and in doing so, it is inevitable that it will become a reality for you that you will confront so long as you don’t fall back into the old beliefs. This is where the true battle lies. You must guard your thoughts and emotions from past limiting beliefs and hold fast with passion and determination. You have to hold your vision of your end result as though you are already experiencing it. Let nothing stand in your way of believing and acting as though this is your new reality.