02 May Which Excuse Do You Use To Not Change?
Imagine you’re on your way to an important work meeting. In one scenario, you forgot to put on your alarm and know for sure you’ll miss the meeting; in the other, you’re caught in stop-and-go traffic and don’t know if you’ll be late. We experience more stress when we don’t know if something bad is about to happen than when we know for sure it’s coming.
That stop-and-go traffic is more stressful because, for survival reasons, the brain is evolved to pay a lot of attention to uncertainty. When consequences are unpredictable, dopamine floods a relatively primitive part of the brain that he calls the “action center,” activating a “motor script that’s ready to swing into action,” with your pupils dilating and your attention narrowing. Our brains crave answers — now!!
We want to be able to imagine the future, and we want to be able to prepare for it. Uncertainty makes this awfully hard. One of the most de-motivating things for human beings is uncertainty, and we avoid it at all costs. In fact, we will just do nothing if we’re not certain.
We don’t resist change because we’re neurotic or cowards. The will to change and the desire to maintain sameness coexist for good reasons, and they’re both essential to our emotional health and to the continuity of our identity and our relationships and our stability.
So how do we pioneer the change we want to make in our lives?
Here are a couple quick points below:
- Acknowledge the issue you’re having and want to change. Whether it be negative thinking, Insomnia, or anger observe the ways in which these things manifest. What triggers your unwanted issue? This requires you to become more self-aware: observe, question, and wonder why you are the way you are.
- Call yourself out. When you catch yourself in the act of an unwanted habit remind yourself. “I’m about to do this or think that because of my tendency or habit. Not because it’s real or the right thing to do.”
It is true that our minds betray our very health because of poor thoughts which are the basis of bad habits. The brain is merely firing the way you trained it to.
Call yourself out and be honest about why you have certain impulses. It’s powerful. Tell yourself what you will or won’t accept. Stand up to those forceful urges.
- Refocus – After you acknowledged that the worry is a symptom…the next crucial step is to refocus on a positive, wholesome, ideally pleasure-giving activity the moment you becomes aware you are “having a moment”.
Refocusing doesn’t have to be an overwhelmingly big gesture. Starting small and having consistency helps. Label your negative habit as a symptom of something deeper. Somewhere inside of us are false beliefs which stop us from moving forward. From breaking through the glass ceiling of obstacles to the person you want to be. The life you want to have.
What are ways to refocus? By helping someone, working on a hobby, walking, playing a musical instrument, listening to music, working out, meeting friends or if you’re driving have music or a podcast you love ready.
Get to know your false beliefs. Ask, “Why do I behave or think this way?”. It’s tough facing the truth head on. But it’s necessary.
- Get support — from a hypnotherapist, Mindfulness teacher, friend, or meditation group. Most of the time we won’t notice our repetitive behaviour unless someone is there as a mirror. It’s a great way to have accountability for the changes you seek. It is also one of the best ways to know if you’re making progress.