How to Permanently Change Any Behavior and Evolve Into the Best Version of Yourself
“There is one thing that 99% of failures and successful people have in common: they all hate doing the same things. The difference is successful people do them anyway.” -Darren Hardy
Most people will spend their whole lives trying to change negative behaviors, but will never really have lasting success.
Changing behaviors is hard, no doubt about it. Evolving into better versions of yourself takes sacrifice, energy, and focus. Most people see the price and simply say no.
In his book, The 10x Rule, author Grant Cardone wrote that maintaining an average life takes about as much energy as developing an extraordinary life. Benjamin Hardy put it similarly: “It’s actually far more exhausting to not work than it is to work. It takes far more energy to sit with internal conflict than it does to get to work.”
Changing your negative behaviors might seem like more work, but in the long run, it actually saves you energy, time, and money than if you never changed.
This is because negative behaviors cost you so much.
In a fascinating video, the NFL had an average guy race against speedy NFL players. Of course, the NFL players won. But even the largest, “slowest” players — a linebacker — soundly beat the average Joe. They even gave the average guy a head start.
How did this happen? The linebacker is a trained runner. He knows how to move as efficiently as possible, even if he weighs twice as much. The average Joe’s form was terrible — he could probably run far faster with a few simple tweaks.
Evolving into better versions of yourself allows you to be more productive, focused, creative, energized, and fulfilled. Shedding old habits that only held you back will allow you to experience some of the deepest fulfillment of your life so far.
Here’s how to permanently change any behavior and evolve into the best version of yourself, starting right now.
“If you want to have more, you must become more.” -Jim Rohn
98% Is Harder Than 100%
“When you build a habit, you don’t have to spend mental energy deciding what to do.” –David Kadavy
Imagine an alcoholic who knows she needs to stop drinking. So, she vows to not drink the entire day. But she tells herself she can drink for 5 minutes at the end of the day, as a reward.
The entire day, that little treat — the cheat meal, the sugary coffee, a little porn, a little drugs — hangs over your head. That’s all you can think about. In a twisted way, the source of the problem actually becomes the source of motivation.
Giving yourself this little out makes the process of quitting 100x harder.
98% is harder than 100%.
In the words of Tony Robbins:
“If you want lasting change, you have to give up this idea of just trying something, and you have to commit yourself to mastery. That means not just “dabbling,” but fully immersing yourself. Because your life is not controlled by what you do some of the time, but by what you do consistently.”
If you want to truly change any behavior, you need to let go of this idea of “98%” and commit to 100%.
You need to stop dabbling and actually commit. You need to be consistent. Otherwise, you’ll always be wasting energy trying to motivate yourself.
Most people dabble. They promise they’ll be good, but they leave themselves an out. This little safety net is a powerful message to their mind that says, “I probably can’t do this task.”
This message becomes incredibly powerful in your subconscious. Author David Schwartz described it like this: “Disbelief is negative power. When the mind disbelieves or doubts, the mind attracts reasons to support the disbelief.”
On the other hand, he says, “Belief, strong belief, triggers the mind to figure out ways and means how to.”
Alcoholics Anonymous describes how many new alcoholics often “hide bottles,” saving away secret booze as they pretend to look sober. To the outside observer, there’s no more alcohol. But it’s a lie.
You are more powerful than you think. You don’t need hidden bottles and safety nets.
You’ll be OK. The process of evolving in a better version of yourself feels like you’re literally killing off parts of you.
The truth is, you are. But that’s OK — you’re killing off the old so the new can thrive.
“Success is measured by the size of your belief. Think little goals and expect little achievements. Think big goals and win big success.” -David Schwartz
Changing One Part of Your Life Affects Every Other Part
“A man cannot do right in one department of life whilst he is occupied doing wrong in any other department.” -Gandhi
The smallest improvements in even one area of your life has ripple effects.
Change creates momentum, always.
Positively changing one part of your life, even just a little bit, creates powerful momentum. The key is utilizing this momentum to leverage a little bit more change, every day.
Said David Kadavy:
“Every day, check these 4 boxes: Have I improved 1% on physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health?”
The more you improve, the more you want to improve.
The more you learn, the more you discover what else you need to learn.
The smallest evolutions are addicting. There is great power in knowing you are a better version today than you were yesterday. Imagine what you’ll be tomorrow?
The past month, I’ve spent every hour of my free time into creating my first ever online course on behavioral change, a dream I’ve had for 5 years.
And boy, it was hard as hell. I’ve spent hours going back-and-forth with tech support across multiple platforms, solving problems I still don’t understand.
But the course is finally live (you can learn more by subscribing at the end). And a few nights ago, I was laying in bed, marveling at the new evolution I had become.
Before, I was just a “writer.” I had no technical skills to speak of, and I truly didn’t believe I would be able to do the things I had done this month.
Now, I’m a new evolution. I’m a businessman. I’ve (kinda) mastered the tech needed for me to reach my next series of goals.
If you don’t know where to start, that’s fine. It doesn’t even matter where you start — only that you do.
In the words of Jim Collins in his book Good to Great, “Good-to-great transformations never happen in one fell swoop. There is no single defining action, no grand program, no one killer innovation, no solitary lucky break, no miracle moment.”
I promise you — you can evolve into a better version of yourself by tomorrow.
It just starts with a little change in one area.
“When we sit down day after day and keep grinding, something mysterious starts to happen. A process is set in motion by which, inevitably and infallibly, heaven comes to our aid. Unseen forces enlist our cause. Serendipity reinforces our purpose.” -Steven Pressfield
You Will Never Get More Than You Think You Can Get
“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” -Michael Jordan
The size of your future depends on the size of your thinking.
The quality of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.
What you focus on, grows.
Most people do not have high-quality or world-class thoughts. They are surrounded by influences that seek “good-enough” circumstances, and nothing more. So, their lives and choices are not world-class.
“All of us, more than we recognize, are products of the thinking around us. And much of this thinking is small.” -David Schwartz
You’re not going to receive more than you think you will get.
Therefore, your first task is to address your thinking.
- Are my goals as big as they should be? (Do I even have any long-term goals?)
- If I expanded my goals 10x bigger, what would happen?
- Do I believe I can succeed? Or am I just pretending?
Deep down, most people don’t think an extraordinary life is possible. Their ideal future — traveling the world, making a ton of money, being incredibly fit and enormously fulfilled with their life — just isn’t a reasonable goal for them.
This sad mode of thinking is directly a result of small thinking. Remember, if you think small, you’ll get small results. If you think big, then you can expect big success.
If you want to change any behavior and continue evolving into better versions of yourself, you must believe you can improve.
You might not be able to envision your entire future yet. But you must envision something greater, some better circumstances than what you have now.
This builds momentum. This forward thinking makes small evolutions possible. These small victories build on each other.
Small things become big things.
Back when I was hopelessly addicted to pornography, I truly didn’t believe I could stop. I remember thinking, as a teenager, how I was going to have to hide this habit from my future wife someday, because I knew I couldn’t stop.
It wasn’t until years of counseling and therapy later that I began to believe I had a future without pornography and addiction.
And here I am. I haven’t looked at porn in years. I plan to never look at it again. In fact, I expect I won’t.
This is only possible because I believe it is.
What do you believe about yourself?
What is the most you think you are worthy to receive?
“One will never get any more than he thinks he can get.” -Bruce Lee
The Quality of Your Environment Determines the Level of Your Success
“If we do not create and control our environment, our environment creates and controls us.” -Marshall Goldsmith
This is one of the most important factors of behavioral change most people miss.
When attempting to change a behavior, most people don’t address their environment. They think their mental declaration made in a surge of inspiration is enough to combat years of routine behavior.
If your environment remains the same, you can’t expect any meaningful behavioral change.
A reader of mine emailed me the other day, and asked, “I know the people I hang around have negative mindsets, and that’s pulling me down. But what should I do? Should I just leave them?
I couldn’t answer the question for her, but I did tell her what Darren Hardy once wrote:
“You can’t hang around negative people and expect a positive result.”
You may find it very difficult to change some parts of your environment. There may be parts that seem impossible to change.
That’s OK. Do what you can. Benjamin Hardy once wrote, “Don’t worry about the output when you’re trying to build momentum. Instead, just get yourself to do whatever you feel you need to do.”
If you constantly operate in negative environments, you can’t expect to see enormously positive results.
Developing world-class behaviors and evolving into better versions of yourself starts with your environment. The outside of you usually reflects the inside of you.
If you keep having problems with behavioral change, it’s probably because your environment made it difficult.
Choose to not tolerate mediocrity and subpar, “good-enough” mindsets.
You must control your environment, or it will end up controlling you.
“Remember: we all get what we tolerate. So stop tolerating excuses within yourself, limiting beliefs of the past, or half-assed or fearful states.” -Tony Robbins
Personal Evolution = Making Slightly Better Choices Daily
“Greatness is nothing more than the long-term investment of time.” –Nicolas Cole
Most people think creating significant life change happens quickly.
But that’s not how it works. It took a long time for you to build up those negative behaviors and mindset; it’ll take some time to develop a new one.
The problem most people face is their impatience with waiting for results, even if small progress is being made. In their eyes, small progress isn’t big enough.
This black-and-white thinking is responsible for many people’s failed attempts to change. Since they can’t see any big results soon, they impatiently give up and revert back to who they were.
In the words of Niklas Goeke:
“Tiny steps will take you much farther than infrequent home runs.”
In the past 3 months, I’ve gained 10,000 new email subscribers.
Do you want to know how many subscribers I got over my first 4 years of blogging?
For 4 years, I published article and article into cyber-nothingness. Then, in one month, I gained 100 subscribers. The next month, 1,000. The next month, 3,000.
And so on.
The science of evolving into something better isn’t complicated. In the words of Jim Rohn, “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.”
Darren Hardy echoed this sentiment: “Small, seemingly inconsistent steps completed consistently over time will create a radical difference.”
Personal evolution happens slowly. Often, it seems like nothing is happening at all.
But success is sneaky. It often comes all at once, and you suddenly realize you’re 10x the person you were just a few months ago.
“When money begins to come, it comes in such abundance that you wonder where it has been hiding all those lean years.” -Napoleon Hill
“Set the kind of goals that will make something of you if you achieve them.” -Jim Rohn
Most people practice dozens of negative behaviors and actions, every single day.
Most people don’t take the time to consciously design their environment so that success is inevitable. They don’t realize 98% is far harder than 100%, and how their subconscious lack of self-belief cripples every other part of their life.
You are extremely fluid. You can adapt and change just about anything.
This requires sacrifice. Achieving an extraordinary life and constantly becoming better versions of yourself requires immense energy and commitment — perhaps more than you’ve ever had to give.
Your ideal life is possible. The road there isn’t crowded. Most people are content to live in “good-enough,” and so forfeit their chance to achieve greatness.
Your best self is only a few slightly better daily choices away.