We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. - Aristotle
This renowned philosopher exited around 4th century BCE, but his philosophy is still applicable in the present world. Today we use complex methodology and vocabulary to explain such ideas, yet deep down the concept is the same. One of the greatest truths of life is that it flows from inside out. We are affected by what happens inside – our feelings and thoughts, which in turn get reflected in our actions, words and emotions. We all want to be perfect beings. So, imagine a world where you are given an opportunity to modify your thoughts and feelings in such a manner that they come out as good deeds! Who doesn’t want to live in a world like this, a world where people don’t complain about your bad habits because you don’t have any bad habits! Can this world ever exist? Can we be such fortunate to be able to do so?
The answer is an emphatic YES. Yes such a world exits. Yes there are ways and means through which you can give up on your bad habits and adopt some good ones. It is not something supernatural or paranormal, but is just a matter of human psyche. Scroll up and read the first line of this article again. It says,”We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” The entire human science revolves around these 12 words. It’s all a matter of HABITS. Today scientists have come up with the concept of neuroplasticity which refers to the changes in neural pathways and synapses which are due to changes in behaviour and environment. The concept may seem confusing and modern, but it is damn simple. Though ancient philosophers could not use the same intriguing word but they basically talked about the same thing, around 2000 years from present!
It is a proven theory that if you work according to a particular manner for 21 days, you can actually change your habits! Sounds unbelievable, isn’t it? But believe me, it’s 100 % true. The whole theory revolves around the fact that the neurons in the human brain are accustomed to work in a particular manner and have a particular shape. But for 21 days, just for 21 days, if we try to do something continuously, you will be a change person on the 22nd day! The neurons by now would have changed their shape and will be working in the manner that you compelled yourself to do for 21 days. Such a simple concept that can make you do wonders. I would like to give an example here to make it more clear. Suppose it you have a bad habit of smoking and you are really addicted to it but at the same time want to get rid of it, fret not. No need to buy expensive medicines or spend thousands in clinics that claim to make you quit smoking. The new mantra is quick, effective and free of cost! Just sit down one day and say to yourself, “I really want to quit smoking and I know that I can do that.” Start from that itself and try and stay away from cigarette as much as you can. It is little difficult and requires a lot of will power. At the end of the day, write down your your success rate. So if you keep doing the same everyday, your report card would be something like this:
Day 1: Usually I smoke 6 cigarettes a day, today I tried hard but could not resist.
Day 3: I smoke only 5. Big achievement. Feel so good!
Day 5: 4 and half.
Day 10: 3. Wohoo!
Day 15: 2
and Day 21: ZERO
So this is how it goes. But mind you, it is not as simple as it seems to be. You really need to be extremely determined and courageous to do so. Also you need to extremely optimistic. Many people fail in the initial days and feel to under confident to continue. But you don’t have to give up. You will fail once, twice, but would definitely win the 3rd time. And believe me, the feeling you get once you achieve something all by yourself is just inexplicable. So go for it. This theory is just not used for getting rid of bad habits but can also be used to adopt something good. Using this mantra, you can convince yourself to jog everyday, to give up eating fast food, to study meticulously for your exams and even to learn to drive.
A proper methodology can be followed to get better results. First carve out a plan and decide what do you which habit do you want to give up on or which one you should adopt. Also list out the reasons as to why do you want to do so and what will you achieve at the end of it. Then frame a time table as to how would you go about it. For example of you want to loose weight by going for a jog everyday, list down the timings for the same. You can also think of some substitute or replacement habits that you would take up if you give up your existing habit. In the end, you should talk to yourself everyday about how far you have reached on the ladder of success and compare your achievement with the previous day. So go ahead and adopt this mantra as
Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. ~ Dale Carnegie