How many times have you changed your “mindset” about something only to find yourself right back in your old habits in days or weeks? Sort of like when your New Year Eve’s resolutions went out the window by the second week of February!
Habits are just that – habits! They are not really connected to anything. It’s something that we do subconsciously without even thinking about it. Like brushing your teeth or getting dressed.
We actually have the power to change anything in a heartbeat as Tony Robbins would say. I know that’s hard to believe when you’ve tried everything in order to quit smoking, stop drinking, quit junk food, change your eating habits, start exercising, save money or whatever it is that you want to change but keep resorting back to your old habits.
We associate change with being hard, don’t we.
As humans, we ultimately work from what is called the primal brain or the reptilian part of the brain.
Those are where your habits come from.
We think we just need to think our way through it or reframe your mindset (the prefrontal cortex part of our brain). It’s much deeper than that. Habit’s come from the survival part of the brain or reptilian/primal part of your brain.
It’s where your beliefs are about yourself.
Your identity (who we are at an unconscious level).
So if you don’t think very highly of yourself for whatever reason at the core level/identity level (primal brain) it will be a constant conflict with your thinking part of your mind (prefrontal cortex).
You can’t be anything other than what you believe about yourself is. Your thoughts and energy create your reality.
Your thinking part of the brain/prefrontal cortex is your “wants” part of your brain. Example: I want to quit stop drinking – that’s your prefrontal cortex speaking. But the habits come from the reptilian part of the brain…the part that says you have to have a drink in order to survive.
Guess who wins? The reptilian part!
The reptilian part believes that whatever habit we have is necessary for survival. Even if it’s not in our best interest or even what we want.
We tend to work from the outside in when we want change. You get the healthy food, leave your running shoes where you can see them, join a gym, replace chewing gum with cigarettes, etc. Changing your environment or behavior only gets you so far for so long. You need to change from the inside out for lasting change.
We do what we are.
Now that I’ve explained a little how habits come from the primal brain and the prefrontal cortex is our thinking part. The part that wants us to change but primal brain always wins.
How do we actually make lasting change?
Especially if who we identify with is not who or what we want to be.
I’m going to use a client setting a goal to lose 25 lbs but doesn’t follow through to eating in a healthy manner.
In order to reach your ideal weight or whatever goal you have set (financial, health, business, whatever)…
Focus on what you want! Not on what you don’t want.
Energy flows where your attention goes.
This is where we usually focus on what we can’t have and feel deprived – but we are focusing on the problem.
We need to see ourselves as the person that is 25 lbs lighter – all day, everyday. We need to see ourselves as healthy and fit.
Seeing ourselves as what we want to become will help us to make the right choices.
This is more than visualization. The brain learns from repetition and the reptilian brain does not know truth from a lie.
We need to write it down, look at it, hear it, feel it, emotionalize with seeing ourselves as the healthy fit person. Look at ourself in the mirror and love what you see – even if you don’t believe it! Continue to tell yourself you do.
What does that feel like?
What do you see?
If negative self-talk comes in, just know it’s just a thought, take a few deep breaths in through your nose, hold it for a few seconds and out through your mouth and just be. Love yourself. The thought can be dismissed and replaced if you choose. Let it go and replace it with a good thought.
Repetition and more repetition will slowly start to reprogram your brain. Doing this over and over you start changing little by little, doing different things. You start to love the changes you are seeing.
You notice you are focusing more on the energy you want to create vs the energy you don’t because it feels better. Slowly it becomes a habit. Your reptilian brain realizes “hey she’s not taking the urge I’m giving her to go for the food you shouldn’t be eating” and slowly your new healthy option becomes the habit. You start to change the person at the identity subconscious level.
Habits can be changed and change doesn’t have to be hard.
You have to become (relentlessly) the person you want to become now. In your thinking, not just your doing. The doing will come naturally when you change your thoughts about who you believe yourself to be.
Start by declaring the change you want to see. Write it down. Look at it several times a day. Get immersed in it. Write as if it already IS.
Become who you want to be now as if it is true. Ask yourself what would that person be thinking and doing.
Don’t use words like can’t choose words like don’t. For example, I don’t eat chocolate cake rather than I can’t eat chocolate cake. It can make a world of difference when you are around friends and family. And, you don’t have to say it to anyone but yourself. No explanation is needed.
It’s not just about what you are eating, it’s about why you are eating it (without blame please).
Ask yourself “who was I being that created the person 25 lbs heavier than I am now”. If self-worth is low on the list. Start by writing “I am worthy.”
Remember one thing: You have the power to change your beliefs no matter what they are!
Above all, the most important thing is to love and have confidence in yourself no matter where you are on your health journey every step of the way.