We all struggle with habits that we would like to change. These are tendencies that, for the most part, we know are currently causing harm to our body, or to our finances, or to our relationships, to our future, or all of these combined. Yet, still we struggle. Excuses are made about the food habits, denial is used about financial incontinence, rationalizations and blame are made about relationship struggles, and the future – forget about that – it isn’t here yet. To say that society doesn’t help might be true on one level but, ultimately, is an excuse and lack of personal responsibility, so that won’t work either! Here’s a suggestion: the 51% solution.
Consciously choose to do the right thing one out of two times consistently. No excuses at least every other time a craving comes up, an impatience arises, that which is petty impulses one to judgement, or a distraction beckons one from steadfastness. Hold the course! Thirty seconds later or five minutes later when the same thing arises again, hold the course. Smile with the recognition that you are the best trained dog in the world! Chocolate is in a window, you walk into the bakery. Someone’s tastes are a little different from your own, you’ve got a judgmental comment in your mind. Late for an appointment because you just didn’t leave early enough, you’ve got a story concocted. Why are such obvious negative habits the ones that we repeat over and over again? Philosophical, biological, trauma related, and spiritual answers aside, simply do something about it one out of two times that these things arise.
It’s easy; but only so if we actually work it. If on the third time of possible betterment, we choose “nah”, we’ve doomed ourselves to what we were trying to change. Such behaviors show us that we are all addicts of something –if not a variety of things– and show us that we have no right to judge.
When impatience arises, realize that it is unabashed self-centered self-importance and nothing more. And when impatience arises with children, whew! Let us remember these are children with little legs, little bodies, and are learning from us how to behave.
This method is fool-proof, as long as we stop being fools. If we work it – at least every other time that a detrimental tendency or habit arises, if we are vigilant, then in that moment, we are wise. The next moment, do it again, and then again. And, because
- we will be doing this with food, emotions, internal dialogue,
- as well as words and actions with others,
- because we will look in our refrigerator and cabinets and see that we don’t need to go to the store or spend money,
- because we will take note that distractions only put off that which we don’t want to do but that those things still have to be done,
- because …. of the obviousness of the truth, we will begin to erode the facades of denial.
All life learns through repetition. That means we do too. Whatever we repeat gets established. It’s how we learned our A, B, C’s right? If one thinks about it, everything one has learned has been through repetition, good or bad. Aptitudes such as follow-through, diligence, or discipline were accomplished through this simple and flawless process. So, repeat the 51% solution and the negative habits and tendencies will lose their power. You will start to crave less, start to be happier with things as they are, find that you are content and need nothing additional in this moment. Children will once again, become delightful, just children being children. Lo and behold, we all begin to realize how much money we’ve spent on everything! because now we are not syphoning money mindlessly for addictive or unnecessary things. We might begin to pack a healthy lunch that costs pennies compared to dollars for take-out, we might make more food at home, discover fresh vegetables, and those who live with us experience better health, better functioning minds, better sleep. We might choose to slow down, to not turn on an electronic device for half an hour and fight the compulsion to do so. In short order, we’ll notice the sky, start to look up and around, start to have conversations again, real dialogue with the person near us.
The benefits of this simple technique are over the top.
51% solution. You can do it! Start right now.