How to go about the change needed to improve our lives usually confronts us with ourselves. Here’s how you can work to overcome your limiting default settings
The one thing most of us have in common is a dream of a better life. However good we might have it, there will always be parts in need of improvement, while many dream of a change on a larger scale. Another thing we have in common is that the key factor determining areas in need of change is most likely us. But where to start and how to go about that change is the unknown before which most of us will lay our weapons down, not even sizing the opponent properly. Only, if we are up against ourselves, who is to say we can˙t win?
We are raised to believe that we are the way we are. Born with certain preconditions, raised in a certain way, time and place, and shaped by a certain experience, thus our character and behavior are pretty much set. Though all of the above will influence the way we got through our lives when operating on autopilot, our conscious choices only consult theses factors, not obey. According to the 1970´s research of Daryl Bem and Walter Mischel, we have a fair chance to do as we like. To change our settings and programming, given the circumstances, not our background.
Achieving your goals does not require full-time discipline ruled by constant control over our behaviour. Instead, it only takes the discipline needed for a new habit to kick in.
Kick start a new habit
This is where the power of habit comes in. For those of us lacing success in accomplishing goals, it seems that it takes great discipline to work through a plan. Believing we are not disciplined enough, we are likely to dismiss aspirations after a minor set back, convinced that there is simply not much we can do, as that is the way we are wired. However, achieving your goals does not require full-time discipline ruled by constant control over our behavior. Instead, it only takes the discipline needed for a new habit to kick in.
Researchers at the University College of London found that forming a new habit takes from 18 to 254 days, or an average of 66 days, depending o the severity of the challenge. That˙s the time we need to lock in on the new type of behavior and start considering it as a routine, making the hard stuff seem easy. It becomes something that you do automatically in response to a situation, without any thought. Furthermore, the satisfaction derived from a single accomplished goal will empower and motivate us to tackle another one and more good will subsequently fallow. How encouraging is that?!
Growing from a place of love, not fear is what will blow the wind up your sail. And on that path, there is no room for self-doubt, comparison, jealousy, or self-contempt.
Be clear on your reasons
My experience pretty much substantiates that but also highlights another important factor – motivation. For example, giving up smoking after more than 10 years was easy for me – as I choose to do so when I became pregnant. A change of diet is one of my most recent habit interventions and am now, two months into it, safe to say that I no longer crave bread or dairy (though sweets are still my week spot) and my wellbeing has improved. It goes to show that health is a strong motivator for me.
However, doing something for the sake of answering my heart˙s desire proved to be a harder candy to chew on. Not believing that my goals are important, or that what I do matters may have been some of the reasons why I failed on occasions. However, I am now also aware of the importance of the reason behind those desires, and their true source. As Bruce Lipton proved with his famous petri dish experiment, growing from a place of love, not fear is what will blow the wind up your sail. And on that path, there is no room for self-doubt, comparison, jealousy, or self-contempt. You have to be clear on your vision, and most of all, on your why. If you are not quite there jet, you might consider downloading my Blooming guide to unlock your true aspirations. When you want something for all the right reasons, you will be able to pursue it without a doubt.
Coach your will power
Beliving you are deserving of the things you aspire to you will make it more likely for you to maintain the will power needed to make them happen. But, bear in mind that it doesn˙t come in abundance. It comes and goes, gets worn out. As you most likely know, no matter how powerful your motivation may be, your will power will not always answer the call. But the good news is that, though it is limited, it is also a renewable resource. As illustrated in The one thing book by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan , like food or sleep, it is a personal resource to be managed.
You will have more chance to engage it after a good night’s sleep, and, strangely enough, after a good meal. But as the day runs out, and the amount of glucose in your blood lowers, your will power will drain too, and your default settings reemerge. So make sure to plan what matters most to you early in the day and choose carefully where to spread the rest of it. When you knowingly engage it for a task, make sure to refill before further use. Work with the flow of it, and it will work for you.
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