The human mind is a complex, and often times mysterious, thing. The more we learn about how it works the more confusing it all becomes. Even if we can not explain how or why we think the way that we do, we can learn how to best utilize the system that we have to work with. When it comes to learning a new habit there are a number of things we need to keep in mind if we want to master a new skill set.
When you first learn to do something new it is almost always awkward and challenging. Even though it may not feel like it, this is actually a good thing. Because we get frustrated it can help kick in that little extra adrenaline that we so desperately need sometimes in order to power through tedious and laboring tasks. It is all in how you perceive this “grind” as some people classify it as stress while other as motivation. The majority of us can get through the initial stages to the point where we can at least somewhat perform the task at hand. A solid ego alone will get you to this point as no one wants to initially fail. It is getting beyond this stage that can get tough as the plateau can sometimes seem to go on endlessly.
Many times, we pick up a new skill set to an admirable level and then are content leaving it at that. We all strive to be masters but just can’t seem to muster up the energy or time to take us there. It is important to set yourself lofty goals that will pull you through the tough times. It is not always going to be fun and there are going to be periods in which you question why you are even bothering anymore. There will be other times where it seems like no matter what you do you just can not get any better at the task. It is when we have become unconsciously competent at something that we are able to perform almost mindlessly, a lot like driving a car. When you have practiced something enough to get to that level the mind needs to utilize less resources and is happy to just coast along on autopilot. In fact, the mind may even get quite upset if you attempt to take it out of this mode.
The question then becomes how to use the mind against itself to overcome our own limitations? Well, repetition is key to all learning and needs to be applied here tirelessly. You need to devote a specific amount of time everyday to achieving your task. You need to track your success in a dispassionate and analytical fashion. Seek to consistently improve but set long term goals instead of looking at short term fluctuations. Master this discipline and you will be able to tackle any problem in the future. Being able to create a new habit on demand, no matter how small, is what makes us unique.