by Darrin Schenck

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by Darrin Schenck

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…not what you are trying to avoid.

Mindset is everything in life, the seems pretty self-evident.  How you see the world, and how you let the world influence what you see is going to make or break you.  Allow me to elaborate…

If you are trying to change a habit, like not dropping your elbow when swinging at a forehand, or getting to the gym five days a week, you need to begin with the correct mindset.  You do not want to start with the thought of “Don’t drop your elbow” because your mind does not “hear” the word don’t.  This means that you are beginning the process from the view point of “I drop my elbow, so I need to make sure I don’t do that” and then start your swing.  Same thing goes for getting to the gym; if you think to yourself “I can’t oversleep tomorrow morning” you are already starting from the wrong place.

You need to understand the process for getting anything new embedded as a habit.  This starts with the right thought in your head, and then you executing that thought process as you envision it.  If you want to get to the gym in the morning to start your day, you need to picture yourself at the gym at 6:00AM and getting work done in the gym.  You need to get your things ready the night before, and remove any friction to the process.  And THEN you need to begin here:

Think correctly, and then do it correctly.

When you can see it in your mind the way you want to do it, then you can do it.  Sometimes you need to see someone else do it first, and then you can mimic their movements and process.  You must “see” it in your mind before you can ever have your body recreate that skill.  You cannot start out incorrectly and then “fix it” during the skill itself.  Using the forehand swing example again, if you start out thinking “don’t drop your elbow, don’t drop your elbow…” you will drop your elbow and then fix it during the process.  This means you are going from “wrong” to correct each time.  How well do you think that is going to work?

If you are trying to break from from a drug addiction or a bad habit consuming six cups of coffee a day, the way you think about yourself is going to play a huge role in your success, or your failure.  If you continue to refer to yourself as an addict, or say things like “I’m a six cups a day person”, then you are locking yourself into that identity for at least another day.  If you say it tomorrow, then you have guaranteed yet another day of living in that same manner.  You need to break the cycle by starting in your head, in your mind’s eye, yourself in a different light.  You need to begin to see yourself as someone who doesn’t drink six cups of coffee, or watch porn every morning before you get out of bed to begin your day.  All bad habits are signs of lack of discipline in your life. and/or poor routines.  Good solid routines every day help break the life patterns that you currently live.  When it comes to hitting forehands or improving your golf swing, it is pretty much the same thing, you need to picture it the way you want, and then execute that.  You start correctly from the thought first, and then the action, and slowly switch over to this new technique.

Sometimes people around you unwittingly try to hold you in place, not helping but actually hindering your progress.  For example, if you have a “smoke buddy” at work, and the two of you take frequent breaks to go outside and smoke a cigarette together, they are not going to want you to quit.  They want to keep you as their smoke buddy, so don’t expect a bunch of encouragement from them.  But don’t put yourself in the smoke break situation and think that you’ll resist the temptation.  It is too hard at first to be around someone who is smoking and not get sucked back into the habit.  You’ll need to change the LIFE pattern to defeat the desire to smoke.  One you change the patterns you live by, you can then effectively break the habit and make it permanent.  If you can talk your smoke buddy into becoming a “walk buddy” then the two of you may be able to continue the pattern.

In most cases, bad habits are not permanent, but they can be difficult to overcome.  If you stay focused on what you want, like a better forehand or golf swing, or a healthier life, one free of smoking, drinking, or whatever your vice(s) of choice are, you can get to where you want to be.  You didn’t form the bad habit overnight, so you won’t solve the issue that quickly either.  But if you take a step by step approach, slowly you will get to your destination.  But you must focus on WHAT YOU WANT and not what is plaguing you.  It is imperative that you reinforce what you want and nothing else, and slowly that which you focus upon will become your new operating process.

As always, I wish you luck in your endeavors.

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