Let me ask you a question. How many people could tie their shoelaces the first time they tried? I can remember when I first taught my children how to tie their shoes – it was around the time they started school. The look of concentration on their faces, as they remembered the way to get those loops in the right way. But once they truly got it, instead of concentrating as they tied their shoes, they could talk, laugh, read, any number of things at the same time. Does anyone remember a similar learning in their own lives?
The reason for this is that once the pattern of tying their shoes sunk into the subconscious level rather than them having to think about each step, they no longer had to concentrate on what they were doing. This is the same with all behaviors and habits. Once it sinks into your subconscious, you don’t think about doing it, you just do it. Therefore, in order to make changes in any area of your life, both the subconscious and conscious must be working together. Some of you may be saying that you have made a conscious decision to make changes in your life using your willpower without using this subconscious “stuff”. All I can say to that is that in order for the change to be long-lasting, both your conscious and subconscious must be working together.
How Do I Make Change Long lasting?
- Make the decision – cut off from any other possibility. You don’t look back – only looking forward. The only person that can make this decision is you – not your spouse, your children, your family, your friends – only you can do it. Write it down – this creates clarity to what you are going to achieve
- Commit to new path. You make this commitment to yourself that this is not something you will try - YOU WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN. Nothing will stop you if you are truly committed
- ACT – you must move. “Even if you are on the right track – you will get run over if you just sit there.” Move forward – someday never comes. Act today
- FOCUS on what you want. Nothing is more motivating than focusing on the results that will come as you build your new habit into your life. The more often and deeply you can do this, the more motivation you will have. Imagine the rewards you are going to reap once your new habit has been formed. Think about the health benefits you are going to have with your new habit. These images will make your mind eager to adopt the new habit and hence it will be easier and faster to form the habit. Imagine yourself as already being exactly the person that you want to become in the future. Remember, your subconscious mind is activated and programmed by mental pictures, sounds, feelings, smells and self talk. If we took a smoker, trance work can help by changing your self-image into that of a non-smoker. A new, positive image is implanted into your subconscious (the first factor required – a decision — is imperative). Now your old feelings, attitudes and fixations about smoking have been dismissed. Perhaps you want to lose weight. You know all the reasons you should lose weight. You really want to get in better shape. You want to take better care of yourself. Make the suggestion to your subconscious that you don’t want to “lose weight” but “be healthy.” These are the “believable suggestions” at work. You are now focusing on what you want to gain, for instance, better health, self-esteem and vitality, rather than what you are “trying to give something up”.
- CREATE a supportive environment – who we become is greatly influenced by the people in our lives. Surround yourself with people that will hold you to a high standard. If the new habit you are trying to develop is improving your fitness, don’t go for a 10 kilometre run if your joints hurt after every run. Instead try swimming, working out at the gym, walking in the park or anything else that is fun to follow and which will support you. Likewise, if you can’t stand the chickpea salad you are eating everyday for lunch because you think it is good for you, the chances of you continuing a healthy diet are remote.
- Celebrate often – This one is critical and very often missed. Celebration keeps us excited and helps us reward ourselves for the work it takes to make a new habit stick. Celebrate the day you start, rather than concentrate on what you are giving up. Reward yourself for the beneficial changes you have made in your life.
Life is a celebration and far too short to spend days, weeks or even years lamenting what you “should do”. Start with your decision and ACT and welcome the world to the new YOU.