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Highlights

  • How the difference between my personal and professional life helped me see what was missing in my recovery.

  • Developing a personal infrastructure is critical to your success

  • Mini-habits and Micro-goals create structure and space for growth

“True freedom is impossible without a mind made free by discipline.”

Mortimer J. Adler, How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent Reading

 

Everyone needs personal infrastructure.

This is the most powerful concept that I teach in my one-on-one coaching. Your thoughts are the result of decades of programming. Our major psychological belief systems were likely firmly wired by the time we were 12 years old.  

It you want sustainable, continuous improvement – and you want to counterbalance your biologically-hardwired triggers – not doing ‘the thing,’  is insufficient! That’s because to break a habit, you have to make a habit.

 

What is personal infrastructure?

Let’s start with a story about when I was at my lowest. I am so grateful for that low, because it created a powerful awakening, an international business, a new way of life, doing what I love to do, but it started at that low.

I was in therapy, working through some intense stuff; talking about mom and dad, talking about the childhood sexual abuse, talking about being adopted. At the same time, I was obsessively researching habits, mindfulness, and the science of success.

Here is the key thing I learned from my research” The number one thing successful people have in common was the philosophy that to break a habit you have to make a habit.

I realized that I hadn’t spent any time in the past few decades making new habits. So, I started to analyze my life:

When was I doing well?

When was I able to manage the triggers”

When was I acting out? And not acting out?

What I was not doing was focusing my energy on not doing the thing! To break a habit, you have to make a habit. Obsessively focusing on not doing the thing is only going to produce more of ‘the thing,’ because it’s what you’re focusing on.

When I was doing well…

I had goals

I was sleeping well

I was eating well

I was hydrating well

I was exercising.

I was practicing mindfulness

I realized that those are the new habits that I had to create for myself. I had to build my own personal infrastructure!

When I was in therapy, there were no goals. There was no structure. There were no objectives. And yet, I was simultaneously in a project management role. My professional life was full of process, workflow, infrastructure, success, progress measurement, etc. But I had no structure in my personal life.

There it was! My problem was that I had no personal infrastructure.

Personal infrastructure is what do we need to maintain and gain the level of success that you wish to achieve. These are the policies and processes that we all need to do to produce results. When you’re finally free, I promise you that that freedom will be accompanied by you doing something else – with your personal infrastructure.

 

Developing A Personal Infrastructure

I started by elevating my process. I went back to the realization that when I was doing well, I was eating, sleeping, hydrating, exercising, and meditating. So, I created goals and started measuring my improvement.

I started paying attention to my hydration

I started paying attention to what I was eating

I prioritized exercise

I prioritized meditation

Because if healthy is the destination,why don’t I start there?” Why spend all our time focusing on, “Don’t do the thing. Don’t do the thing. Don’t do the thing.” You can’t just eradicate a habit, you have to replace it!

Over the course of the past five years, I have never had a client come to me with a slip when they had a personal infrastructure in place. When you identify the why, and then move forward toward making yourself healthy by breaking habits, you shift the focus toward becoming the best version of you rather than simply nto doing the thing. You are now focused on creating new habits to replace ‘the thing.’  In fact, I’ve never had a client come to me who was slipping in a dark place or anybody even call me in the beginning who was honoring what I call their fundamental five.

 

How To Start – The Fundamental Five

Etch this in your memory ‘ “To break a habit you have to make a habit.”

Your success in not doing the thing is rooted in you doing something else.

Let’s start with the basics. We have a tendency to overcomplicate things, but stop fooling yourself in thinking that you want to be successful, if you’re not taking care of these Five Fundamental things:

Eating healthy

Sleeping enough

Hydrating enough

Exercising

Meditating

These are the basics.

Do not underestimate their power!

Now let’s address how to create change around these areas. I want to introduce you to a concept for creating change. This concept is called Mini-habits and Micro-goals. These goals are goals that are ridiculously easy to attain that help you create mini-habits that will change your life.

If you’re already not accomplishing the goals you’ve set, the last thing you need to do is make those goals more aggressive. Your don’t need a motivational speech to inspire you to accomplish them. What you need is to lower the bar. That’s right – Lower the bar!

If you’ve been indulging in porn and other problematic sexual behavior, you’re not in a good mental place. You’re likely depressed, lonely, scared, barely able to even function. You’re not eating well. You’re not sleeping well. You’re not hydrating well. There’s little or no exercise. Grand there’s no mindfulness. You’re not paying attention to the Fundamental Five, and you’re not getting any better.

 

Tom’s Story

After working with Tom (not his real name) for about a month, I find out that he is 350 pounds, by definition, morbidly obese. I’m talking to this guy about his porn problem and he’s 350 pounds. Porn was not his only problem.

Tom had means. At one point, he had a personal chef. He had the personal trainer. He had all the workbooks and videos. You name it, he invested in it. Nothing he did produced the results he wanted. In fact, he was putting on more weight.

I gave him a mini habit and a micro goal. The goal that I set for him was to stand outside his house for 60 seconds a day wearing his running shoes and his shorts.

That’s it. Stand outside for 60 seconds every day wearing his running shoes and his shorts.

His reaction might be the same one that you’re thinking right now.

“That is ridiculous. That is absolutely foolish. What am I going to accomplish by doing that?”

So I asked him, “Well, how much exercise have you gotten over the course of the past two months?”

“Zero.”

“How many times have you been outside with your running shoes on or your shorts that would really create the capacity for you to be successful?”

“Zero.”

“Okay. Well, trust me,” and he did.

At first, he couldn’t find his running shoes. He barely knew where his shorts were, so that was an impediment, but an easy one. That was an easy one. He was able to put that stuff together, and there he is outside, standing there.

Day two he does the same thing.

But on day three, he walked to the end of the driveway.

On day four, he starts stretching.

On day five, he regressed. He barely made it out there at 11:55pm. And he’s sending me messages, “This is the dumbest exercise I’ve ever done.”

But on day six, he goes around the block.

And on day seven he’s around two blocks.

Just recently, he just finished a half marathon! He has lost over 100 pounds. All because the mini habits and micro goals created the capacity for him to be successful.

How did this happen?

He stood outside in his shorts and running shoes for 60 seconds a day, and created a Mini-habits that contributed to his capacity for you to be successful.

 

What’s Next For You?

Over the course of the next few days, evaluate your performance in these five areas. How are you performing in regards to your diet, sleeping, hydrating, exercise, and mindfulness? Then create one mini habit and micro goal for each one of those five areas. Write them down and post them somewhere you’ll see them every day.

Let them be ridiculously easy and attainable goals. By setting the bar low, you create space to grow. You’re establishing your personal infrastructure and setting small, achievable goals that will lead to bigger goals, and bigger change. Start focusing on doing these things, and you’ll stop focusing on doing that other thing.

If you want long-term sustainable success you absolutely, unequivocally must embrace the concept of personal infrastructure.

 

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