Most new habits fail in times of stress. This is the one ingredient you need to make your habits bullet proof.
One of the interesting things about habits is the way they activate in times of stress.
Like, you could have quit smoking years ago. But then one day you have a nasty argument with your boss. Suddenly the craving for a cigarette kicks in and it’s almost impossible to ignore.
Or a reformed alcoholic loses a parent to a sudden illness. Suddenly they just need a drink to get through the night.
It just seems like this is one of the quirks of being human.
I guess maybe it’s not hard to understand why. When we remember that habits live in the more animalistic and primitive (not to judge animals!) parts of the brain, we can understand that maybe the mind reverts to these strategies in times of stress.
It comes back to what it knows – to what it knows works – when it feels insecure and under attack.
When it is playing out the habit it is back in familiar territory again. It’s back somewhere safe.
Even if that safe space is ultimately somewhere destructive.
So if we’re serious about reforming our habits – whether that’s giving up sugar, or being more optimistic, or being more courageous – how do we protect our new habits in times of crisis?
(And we all find ourselves in crisis at some point.)
Well, the studies of habit reform – mostly in the area of alcohol and addiction reform – highlight a single key ingredient.
The single biggest predictor of habit success is having a supportive community at your side. People you can lean on.
This makes sense.
When I look at it, I can see two reasons for this.
The first is about accountability.
If you’ve made a promise to someone to never drink again, when temptation strikes you’re going to think twice. How will I explain it to them? How will I feel if I disappoint them?
In that moment, you’re taken out of the small and oppressive world in your head – away from all the troubles that are coming down on you – back into your relationship with them.
It’s no longer just about you. It’s about them now too. And sometimes an act of strength – like refusing a drink – is easier to extend to others than it is to ourselves.
(So much quirk. )
The other reason is that there is incredible power in a community that is able to hold a new story for you – even if that community is just one other person.
When crisis hits, and when we’re called back to the safety of our old habits, we can be called back to our old stories.
“Who am I kidding? I’m not brave. I’m not strong. I’m just a weak no-hoper with a fetish for doughnuts. I don’t deserve any better.”
Our old stories, our old ways of being, come back to haunt us. And recent victories, no matter how spectacular, fade from view.
It’s in these moments that a community of belief – a community that believes in us and believes in our ability to write new stories about ourselves – is vital.
We need a community that can hold that story for us – that story where we are strong and courageous and fully in our power. “Put down the doughnut Dymphna, that’s not you. That’s not who you really are.”
It is a community that must be built on belief – not just in the new story – but also in our ability to change. That it is entirely possible to write yourself a new story and set out on an entirely new direction in life.
Sometimes when I look at the I Love Real Estate community, I think it is 90% of the reason why we see so many amazing success stories.
(The training materials are obviously a very important part too. Like 30%. So that adds up to 120%… Which is why it’s such great value!)
I mean, you look around a room at an event or something and you think, what on earth are all these people doing together? There’s young people, old people, tradies, professionals, unemployed people, you name it.
And on the face of it, it looks like its property investing that has brought this diverse group of people together.
But it’s not really it. The glue is belief. Belief that personal transformation is possible. The belief that you can take your life and make it whatever you want it to be.
Because everyone who has been part of the community for a while has seen it happen. They have seen people turn their lives around. They’ve seen them take their finances by the horns and take charge. They’ve seen people evolve from mousy push-over to ball-breaking deal maker.
And that belief is something that lives in the community now. When people start to lose the faith – when they feel their old patterns reaching out to grab them – any time spent with the community reaffirms just what is possible.
It is the community that holds the story for you, when everything else starts to crumble.
I owe this community a lot. I’m not just saying that, I really do.
I get a lot of thank you cards and what-have-you, but I know that barely any of this would have been possible without the incredible community that has gathered together, and that has held this belief that we can be whatever we want.
It is something that everyone holds for everyone else, and that everyone benefits from. Win-win.
This is never what I set out to make. I just wanted to help people become better investors. But the universe had other ideas. Or rather, it knew that if I wanted to help people change, then community had to come.
And the community did. And I just found myself at the right place at the right time.
So this is the last word on habits. If you want to write a brand new story – if you want to recast your unproductive and toxic habits into something more productive and awesome, then you need a community who believes in you and believes that it is possible.
That might be I Love Real Estate. It might just be one other person. But whatever your story, I sincerely hope you get to know what a joy it is to be part of and to contribute to a powerful community of change.
A community like this one.
Who believes in you?