The 4 Steps to Changing Your Behavior

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. -Albert Einstein

The reason why you may want to change a particular behavior is simple: you’re unhappy with the results you’re currently getting. Maybe you rarely meet new people because you never talk to strangers and you’d like to change that. Maybe things never get sexual with a woman because you never make a move and you’d like a little sexy time. Maybe you even want to learn to tango because you think it’s awesome and taking on a physical hobby would make you a more well-rounded individual. Whatever old behaviors you’re trying to replace and new behaviors you’re trying to take on, I’ve noticed the same four step process occur in every such situation:

Relax man, it’s all part of the process

Step 1: Awareness

This stage can be considered the most simple, but in many ways it’s the most elusive. This stage involves becoming aware that your current actions are creating undesirable results in your life, learning of new behaviors you can take to get different results, and becoming aware of the situations where the new behavior is applicable. Sometimes it can take a lifetime to realize you want something better. Sometimes you’ll see the situations for your new actions happening over and over before you work up the nerve to move on to step two. If you’re fortunate enough to gain that awareness, however – congratulations! You’ve taken the first step to changing your behavior.

Step 2: Awkwardness

This stage is what causes most people to avoid making the changes they want to make in their life – and the reason why most give up on new actions in the first couple weeks. You begin to take on the new behavior, however as the name implies, it’s awkward. You feel completely unnatural and weird doing it and you’re tempted to jump back into your safe old rut. Many people don’t make it through this step because they want to do everything perfectly – from starting a conversation to getting sexual.. They’re afraid of failure. The thing to remember though, is that in order to take on a new behavior and become good at it – you MUST do it poorly, you must fail. The good news is, even though you’re doing something awkwardly and poorly, you’ll still start to see positive results. A woman will always be more attracted to a man why says hello awkwardly than a guy who’s too afraid to say hello at all.

Step 3: Comfort

This stage is marked by an “aha!” moment, in which you realize – “ahh, this is how it’s supposed to feel”. The moment you first found your balance on a bicycle or when new dance steps start feeling natural are excellent examples of this stage. At this point, you’ve done the action enough times and gotten enough positive responses that you feel comfortable taking your new actions. If your actions aren’t becoming more comfortable at this point, you’re probably doing something wrong.

Step 4: Mastery

This is the stage where your new actions become subconscious, a habit. You see someone you want to talk to, you don’t think about it, you just react. Driving a car used to be a complicated thing taking your full attention, new you can drink hot coffee, find the song you want to listen to, and do a number of unrecommended things because driving is almost automatic. Now when you dance you don’t have to think about the steps, but just feel the music, connect with your partner, and move. You’ve made it! Congratulations.

Ultimately, our greatest asset in getting through this process is patience. You’re exactly where anyone else would be given your experience, even if that’s hesitating in step one. Embrace failure, celebrate the smallest successes, don’t beat yourself up for not being further ahead – and although it’s cliche’, .you really will be able to accomplish anything.

6 thoughts on “The 4 Steps to Changing Your Behavior

  1. Good point about comfort. Most people do not realize that the price for success are failure and awkwardness. You have to fail to succeed and you have to feel awkward before you feel comfort. But a lot of people (we all do it at some point) give up during the 2nd phase (whether it is opening or physical escalation) and never give themselves a chance.
    For me personally right now I am working on being more comfortable being loud in the club- a lot of times I feel uncomfortable when I am the center of attention. But being loud is key to communication emotion and presence and therefore key to getting the girl.
    And an awesome job at mentioning the ‘feel’ of the action. 🙂

    • Awesome job on the awareness of needing to get louder. Good luck with it and thanks for sharing!

  2. Great stuff Nick! Makes a lot of sense… glad that you are writing a bunch of new articles. I really like your approach and insights into woman and relationships. Keep doing what you do! 😉

    • Thanks you so much for writing and saying what you said Brandon. And don’t worry, I’m just getting started!

  3. This is so meta. I love it. It really put a good frame of reference on where I’m at. Specifically this, “A woman will always be more attracted to a man who says hello awkwardly than a guy who’s too afraid to say hello.” I’m trying to get over the irrational fear of talking to strangers and this made a ton of sense. My problem is that I only strike up conversation when I’m drunk/drinking and when I’m sober I seem to always talk myself out of it. I’ve been following TSM for awhile off and on and your work has helped immeasurably. The talk you gave at The 21 Convention (found it last night) about dropping hooks is something I’m gonna have to try out this weekend. Keep it up brother!

    • Really glad to hear it Ryan. Just remember half the time they’re thinking “what do I have to do to get some guy to talk to me” and good luck!

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