The Power of Programming

New habits are not the product of self-discipline or self-control. Determination and willpower do play a role in the initial stages of habit formation, but we humans are not built to operate under self-imposed duress for long periods of time. Eventually our bodies and brains will rebel against our efforts to force ourselves to do things we really don’t want to do.

This is why it is important for a person to use the short-term power of self-discipline to train his body and brain to perform a new behavior. Then, by the time his willpower expires, the new behavior will be permanently programmed into the subconscious parts of his brain. The behavior will become a fixed and automatic activity that is performed without thought or intent every time the circumstances demand it.

So to create a new habit, you must intentionally interrupt your old patterns of behavior and purposely inject a new behavior into your regimen of “automatic” activities. And to do this, you must tie your new behavior to something that is already automatic in your life. If you do, your brain will “absorb” the new behavior and prompt you to perform it regularly and without thought. But if you don’t tie your new behavior to habits you already possess, your brain won’t prompt you to perform the behavior routinely. Instead, you will have to discipline yourself to perform the behavior, and that approach won’t last very long.

In Make That, Break That, therefore, I teach the reader how to do this. And surprisingly, it isn’t that difficult. With a little bit of thought, a little bit of creativity, and a little bit of planning, you can develop a new habit of success every three months that can set you apart from the ordinary performers around you and set you on a path to achievement and personal fulfillment.

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