Friday, July 8, 2016

the mechanic's guide to change

Like so much of my reading, I am studying a few different topics right now. When I do this the crossover of information get's all blended in my mind and I have an epiphany. This happened over the last week. 

I know you've heard the rave reviews of doing affirmations and you probably tried them with little success. I think a big part of the failure regarding affirmations is that the mechanics are never really explained well. Without knowing why you do it you feel silly and give up or just have a negative attitude about the significance. 

So you've also heard the thing about how it takes 28 days to change a behavior. If you are like me, you'll give up way before the 28 days (some say 18 or 21 days) because you get busy with life and you just forget. 

It just all feels like a bunch of stuff you read in gimmicky books that people write to make money. But...what if there's something to it?

So, like I mentioned before starting out this post, I had a light bulb go off while trying to retain information from three different topics. I'm gonna explain and like always, I'll try to make this as brief as I can. It will not be easy. 

You are a person with habits. You can drive home 20 miles and not remember a single thing about your trip. You could also start to go to the a store on your way home during your afternoon commute and end up in your driveway without ever thinking of the store. You pull in, start to get out and then remember you didn't go by the store. We've all done it. It is habit. 

Do you really want to change something about yourself? Then you will need to break a habit first and replace it with the desired behavior. You could use affirmations but then you will start forgetting once your life gets busy. You could try keeping up the change for 28 days but you'll have to find a way to get up and remember to stick to your plan everyday. It seems hopeless. So, what to do. 

Take 28 days to make it happen. Write those affirmations and place them all over the house but you'll still need a real plan if you really don't want to forget that you are working towards a change. 
If you are a creature of habit and you cannot remember from one day to the next that you are working towards a goal, you are really going to need to buckle down. Right now you are a certain way that you want to change to better yourself and it's going to take practice to unlearn this habit and start a new one that will take over once you are through the process. That, my friend, is the mechanics of your situation. You need to find ways to be reminded through the day that you are working at something. You need to be persistent in your exchanging one habit for another every time that habit arises. If you want to be less negative you have to be on guard all the time so that when you start to say something or think something negative you can stop yourself and try to see the good in the situation. Unless you can remember throughout the day your old habits will keep rearing up. 

What are some ways we can break these cycles?

  • Journal, journal, journal. Write everyday about your change. Write about your process, Write about your results. Write about how you feel and the challenges you face.
  • Write it 100 times a day. Remember in school when you got in trouble and had to write sentences? Do that. 
  • Reaffirm through the day that you have conquered your habit. If you say it in the affirmative you'll be able to take ownership of the new habit from the beginning. Say it, "I am a positive person."
  • Meditate and see with your minds eye what your life will look like when the change happens. Don't just try to see the change actually feel what it will feel like when you are different, with the sand on your feet and the wind in your hair. "Be the change you wish to see in the world?" - Mahatma Gandhi
  • Tell people you trust what you are doing and have them remind you when you go off track.
I'm sure there are lots of ways to keep the process going day after day. Whatever you do just make sure it keeps you from sleeping your way through and giving up. It's habit. Make a new one. 
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