By Jimmy Warden
A lot of advertising that we see in today’s world is geared towards self-improvement made easy by taking shortcuts to reach our personal goals. Whether it be 5-steps to hacking a computer, cheat codes in a video game, biohacking, detox cleanses, 4-week body transformation programs, learn a new skill in 12 hours, or anything in between, the advertising out there is a wide variety, but they are all selling shortcuts to goals we want to achieve. My hope is that most of the people selling these hacks are doing it with an earnest approach, but unfortunately that isn’t always the case. They don’t take the long-term game into account. The main reason being is that we take part in some of the ideas that have been listed and believe that we will definitely achieve the results that were promised; and maybe we do, but are they sustainable and lasting results?
In most cases, the answer is often no, the results are not sustainable or lasting. There is a statistics phrase out there called “regression to the mean”. Essentially, what that phrase means is that outliers eventually make their way back to the average. What does that mean in the hacking world? For those people that had great success with something such as, losing a vast amount of weight in a short amount of time, improving their health via a detox, learn a skill, or beat a challenging video game level with cheat codes, they will eventually regress to their average level performance. For the person that lost that weight, they’ll most likely gain some of it back. For the person on the detox, they’ll go back to the nutrition habits that got them there in the first place. For the person that learned a skill, they won’t end up being a master at it. For the gamer, they won’t continue to level up if they don’t have cheat codes. In order for us to flip the script on all of this and create sustaining changing, we need to change our perspective about how we’ll achieving these goals.
First, we need to know that these shortcuts and hacks are not going to solve all of our problems that we want them to solve. Sure, they could be a jumpstart to helping us making some small improvements, but once their run is done, we have a hard time keeping up with the regiment because we’ve reached its end. We feel that we’ve accomplished what we set out to due rather than make genuine lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes are the proof in the pudding. When we live a certain way, we’ve taken over a different identity; and therefore a different version of ourselves. By making these lifestyle changes, we are becoming a different person by creating new habits and new intentions for our life. By incorporating these changes, we are shedding the skin of our past ways, in favor of a new skin that we deeply desire. With that said, we need to try to leave that skin in the past and not let it resurface. Each time that we make a choice that suits our new ways, we are compounding the interest on the return of that investment. All of the small choices will eventually add up to the point of no return.
So the people that start with these hacks with the goal of self-improvement should try to take some of the knowledge that they learned from trying the hack, and apply it to their daily lives in order to make lifestyle changes. When they go to the grocery store, instead of saying that they only have to buy healthy food for the rest of the month, make it a habit each time to shop healthily. Instead of saying that they’re going on a 7-day detox, make it a habit to try to eat healthily 80% of the time. Instead of going on a body-transformation program for 4-weeks, make it a habit to exercise with the goal of slow steady improvements. When learning a skill, do it as frequently as you can. When playing video games, master the basics and take your lumps. The more lifestyle changes that we make, the more sustainable our changes will be because we’ll have reshaped the way that we live.
If these lifestyle methods are adopted, the regression back to the mean will not be as steep of a slip because the average decisions that are made will be of a higher caliber. It won’t be going from a detox to doughnuts. It won’t be going from losing 12 pounds to gaining 8 back. It won’t be going from a master to an apprentice. It won’t be going from beating the video game to level 1. Instead, the slip-ups will be merely a quick glitch in the video game. They will be a piece of cake on a birthday. They will be a missed workout every once in a blue moon. We’ll have made changes that we’ve wanted to make and we’ll be using the knowledge that we have to stay consistent. Because at the end of the day, that’s the only way to make sustainable changes.