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.