Addictive Patterns: Lifestyle Overhaul
Patterns are addictive. Breaking the “cycle” of an addiction is just another way of saying breaking a harmful pattern. Most people assume such addictions are related to nicotine, alcohol, sex, or drugs.
But we’re all addicts.
We’re all addicted to the day-to-day patterns—our “daily routine” — that gives us comfort and security. Just like someone who turns to substances to “lubricate” their problems, we use our routines to numb the shock and reality of an uncertain future.
The fact that you woke up this morning and probably knew exactly what to do is evidence of your addiction. Now, I’m not condemning a “daily routine” nor am I suggesting it’s wrong to have one.
But I hope you realize: if you’re life isn’t how you want it, chances are you’re addicted to failure.
I know it sounds harsh, but the losers of the world keep losing because, in some ways, they don’t stand a chance. They’ve literally programmed themselves to fail.
There are an infinite number of examples of this, but let’s examine something as universal as weight loss. People often stick to a diet for a few days or weeks, but eventually fall back into their old pattern after some time.
Often, they “regress” to their old eating habits when things get stressful. As a personal example, I know when I’m under deadlines I tend to forget healthy eating. That’s when I find myself chowing down on simple cards and fatty foods. I pretend that it’s “faster” to simply grab some McDonalds or a calorie-dense muffin, but in actuality it just feels better.
Suddenly, I wake up one morning, look down, and notice a pudgy little gut hanging over my belt. Where did this come from? I wonder. But I know where it came from: destructive patterns.
By simply identifying the damaging patterns in your life, you’re taking a first step. Look at the things you do each day that make you more of a loser. Watching T.V.? Playing videogames? Masturbating? Sleeping too much?
You know what you need to change.
Understand though: you’re not simple trying to stop a behavior—you need to break a pattern. It’s so easy to slip back into the “familiar” once the going gets a little rough.
And the going ALWAYS gets a little rough.
I don’t care who you are: life isn’t even keel for anyone. Stress will always rear it’s ugly head. And when it does, the siren song of destructive patterns is there to lull the discomfort.
Doesn’t that Snickers bar look delicious?
Would it really be such a big deal if I watched a few Family Guy reruns?
What’s the worst that could happen if I play a few hours of videogames?
The temptation to return to your old life loser lifestyle always comes in the form of rationalizations. If you’re trying to convince yourself why a vice isn’t so bad in a certain situation, you’re being tempted by the thoughts of a loser.
Don’t negate the positive strides you’re making just because something seems easier, fun, or comforting. Truth is, successful people use stress to increase their working capacity, not stifle it.
Your coping mechanisms should be positive: exercise, eating healthy, etc. Rather than letting some bumps in the roads derail you, they should propel you.
Indeed, this is the secret of champions. There are always two roads you can choose: that of a loser and that of a winner. It’s much easier to take that first step toward the road of a loser than that of a winner, and, moreover, once you’re going down the road of a loser, it’s hard to get off it.
Unless you want to program yourself to fail, exert the effort when taking that first step toward the road of a winner. It may mean throwing that candy bar in the garbage and eating some not-so-fun salad, but, in the long run, you’ve taken one more step closer to success.
And to echo the old proverb: a journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step. The patterns of a winner begin with just one positive decision.
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About Rob J. Rob J. is a writer and dating instructor in New York City. Themes that resonate in both his teaching and writing are masculinity, genuineness, rational self-interest, and general awesomeness.