The other day, I was working with a client who has an addiction. We were reviewing how he managed to stay addicted – what was his strategy. He told me about this book he read that stated that all of us were hardwired to be addicted. I understood the neurochemical basis for this though didn’t necessarily agree with the author’s premise. Then I thought of those people who are addicted to one thing that society deems as bad and trade it for another addiction that society deems as good. I see examples of these on Facebook all the time when someone who has a food addiction breaks it by becoming an ultra-marathoner. One addition for another. Or take a former drug addict that spends 250 days each year on the road speaking to teens about the dangers of addiction. One addition for another. These new addictions have purpose, they have meaning, they have benefits. And then it struck me – why can’t we get addicted on purpose even if we currently don’t have an addiction to swap? Why can’t we get addicted to success? Why can’t we get addicted to our own progress? Let’s look at how we can use addiction on purpose to help us achieve what we want.
The factors of addiction:
1. Be flexible
Addicts don’t get fussy. Chocoholics might have a favorite brand or flavor but when they need a fix, they aren’t picky. When an alcoholic wants a drink, he isn’t going to turn down AAbsolut if Grey Goose isn’t on the shelf. A gambler may prefer black jack but if he can’t get to a table, there’s alternatives.
Why don’t we make our progress this easy? Can’t run? How about yoga? Or jumping rope? Can’t save 10% of your income, how about 5%? How about giving up that $5 latte for the month? Can’t give your partner a 20 second hug? How about a 20 second voice message? How about a 20 hug emoticons?
To be addicted to our progress we need to accept any progress in what ever form it comes in.
2. Be fully engaged in the pleasure
When an addict is doing her thing, she is completely engrossed in it. She feels the pleasure of it with all senses -full neurochemical overload. For us to copy this in our addiction we must celebrate our progress constantly. We need to be more fully engaged in each and every accomplishment we make. We need to do a happy dance, shout from the roof tops, pat ourselves on the back and fully feel the buzzing neurochemicals of success. Whatever way we can, we need to feel the sensations of our success at their peak state. And if you know NLP – anchor it! I have a particular anchor that puts me in the most positive and “I can take on the world” kind of state imaginable. I can relive that feeling at any time just by repeating that movement. Bliss. Sheer bliss.
To be addicted to our progress we need to feel the feelings of every accomplishment fully.
3. Create a conducive environment
An addict hides alcohol in his desk drawer, in his bathroom, in his car, everywhere he wants to be. Chocoholics carry chocolate in their bags, in their cars, in their desks, in their nightstands. Drug addicts will have a connection with some kind of dealer in every city they travel to.
Why don’t you do the same? Do you travel a lot? Create a fitness routine designed for each location or better yet, hirer a trainer who will be waiting on your arrival for your first appointment. And make sure all your other appointments for your workouts are booked in advance (whether you have a trainer or not).
Why not have baggies of chopped vegetables ready for the quick grab & go snack at work, in the car, in your bag. Don’t like warm vegetables? Get flexible or get an insulated water bottle, chuck in veggie sticks and a couple ice cubes.
Need to get addicted to your marriage? Have a special place to meet your partner in every part of the city where you live. Have designated places for connection in your home. Have pictures of your partner in your bag, in your bathroom, at your desk, etc.
Don’t go anywhere without self-development stuff on your phone – meditations, exercises, recipes, etc. Have stuff to engage your mind in your car. Listen to podcasts or audiobooks or self development recordings. Become a junkie. At lunch, in a taxi, before you go to bed, 1st thing when you get up consume with abandon. Even TV can be educational. There are university courses in abundance out there. Learn something! And the mating rituals of animals that live half-way across the world doesn’t count.
To be addicted to our progress we need to surround ourselves with easy ways to be successful.
4. Have a single minded focus
Become obsessed with your progress and success in all areas of your life. Think about it brushing your teeth in the morning until you brush your teeth when you go to bed at night. Make your progress part of every thought pattern. Keep this up for awhile and you’ll find you can’t help but do it.
To be addicted to our progress we need to think of how we can stretch ourselves to success each and every day.
And while I continue to help my client find the strategy to undo his addiction, you can be forming a set of addictions that will not only last you a lifetime but serve you in your relationships, your health, your wealth, and your career.