Is it really that hard to change a behavior? What factors make it difficult for people to change and why? It’s challenging to comprehend because, for almost any goal, we know exactly what we need to do to get there. In the majority of cases, success is not rocket science. Countless people have lost weight before, have created and maintained successful businesses, and thousands of them have shared their knowledge by writing books detailing exactly what they did. Success always leaves clues. In less than a second, Google Search can dish out more training schedules and diet plans than you could ever use in a lifetime!
“If [more] information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.” – Derek Sivers
We will never run out of information, but what really separates the billionaire from the beggar, the triathlete from the lazy couch potato, and the happy joyful person from the deeply depressed one is this: doing the work + one simple key to behavior change that CAN improve your life.
Take a moment to imagine these two scenarios:
You do something that upsets your best friend. They’re hurt and annoyed with you, and they cannot forgive you, no matter what you say to them. You say you’re sorry, you promise not to do it again, but still, they criticize and judge you for what you did.
The same thing, you do something that upsets your best friend. Your behavior hurts them, but after you explain yourself, they respond and say, ‘I forgive you,’ for which you are incredibly grateful.
Now imagine that a few weeks later, you are at a metaphorical crossroads where you have the potential to repeat the same offending behavior that upset your best friend in the first place.
With each scenario, what are you most likely to do? Repeat the behavior, or do something different?
Well, with scenario 1, your friend hasn’t forgiven you, you’ve lost the friendship, so sod it, you’ve got nothing to lose, right?!
But in scenario 2, I would imagine that you’d be SO grateful and appreciative of the fact that your friend forgave you, that you’d be far less likely to do it again.
Now swap ‘the best friend’ in the story with your inner self, and consider that most of us live our lives reenacting scenario 1.
We do things that we don’t like, and then we JUDGE OURSELVES for it, unforgivingly. Then we expect ourselves to change next time and do something different!
But is this approach useful?
For how long have you ALREADY been STUCK with a load of old thought and behavior patterns, expecting yourself to be different next time, and yet just doing the same thing over and over?
The chances are it’s because you’re continually judging yourself.
Which is why the key to behavior change is SELF-COMPASSION, SELF-FORGIVENESS, AND SELF-LOVE.
In January 2019 I attended a 10-day meditation retreat, and in the first two days, I was trying to judge and criticize myself into concentrating. Every time I noticed myself distracted, I would belittle myself for having ‘wandered off‘ in my mind yet again.‘WHY can’t I do this?!’‘What’s WRONG with me?!’
‘I bet everyone else is concentrating just fine!’
And guess what: I just kept getting distracted!
It was only when I decided to meet my distraction with acceptance and gratitude, that I experienced a huge breakthrough.
When I noticed myself thinking about other things, I’d simply say to myself, with a smile, “thanks for those thoughts and ideas; I will come back to them later.” Or “I’m trying my best, and being distracted is normal.”
Once I started doing this, I was suddenly able to concentrate on my breath for a good 20 minutes or so.
It was AMAZING!
The same applies to whatever behaviors or thoughts you have about yourself that YOU want to change.
Maybe you want to start putting yourself out there more in your business.
Maybe you want to start taking more action.
Maybe you want to eat healthier.
Maybe you want to stop judging yourself as not good enough.
Well, whenever you catch yourself not doing the thing or having the thoughts you want to be having, FORGIVE YOURSELF.
Until you consciously choose to override the software, you are BOUND to repeat the same things over and over.It’s human nature!
BUT IT’S NOT YOUR FATE.
No longer do I walk around in a cloud of self-judgment for the things I do or don’t do.
Isn’t that just a much more beautiful way to experience life? AND, be more likely to succeed at it?
You too CAN override your brain’s software.
You too CAN create yourself to be any way you want.
And you too CAN create the life you would love to live.
But you can’t lift yourself higher if you’re always running yourself down.
Be kind to yourself.
And the behaviors that will lead to the results you want will become automatic to you.
When you do
#TheWork, you see who you are by seeing who you think other people are. Eventually, you come to see that everything outside you is a reflection of your own thinking. You are the storyteller, and the world is the projected image of your thoughts. — Byron Katie