At the core of all the work I do, both in my consulting/coaching business and as a Jazzercise instructor, is CHANGE. I love change. I love that people struggle with change. I love that change keeps us on our toes, and gives us opportunities to stretch and grow. It only makes sense that I am continually reading books and articles about how to change - better, faster, cheaper, easier, with less angst, with longer lasting results, without getting or giving gray hair, without losing your job or damaging relationships. There are always old habits or ways of doing things that need to be altered in the process. Recently I bought a book
I am not suggesting you go out and spend $9.99 to buy this book. I'm not even sure that I completely buy into his model for change, but I do think there are some nuggets in the book that make sense. How about if you just trust me to share the nuggets that I think are worth a try? It's what I do; I read books and ponder what I read and then write a blogpost about it. You, my lucky subscribers, get the best part of books for free and very little time spent reading.
I will try and summarize his model for change and then give you the powerful question that could lead you to action. Fast (the author) claims that it is a rare individual who can make a change for the positive with just willpower. Willpower exists in the conscious part of our brain, and that part of our brain is only engaged for erratic parst of any 24 hour period. On the other hand, our subconscious is running 24 hours a day, so what we need to do is rewire our subconscious with the change or new habit. The subconscious mind fears change, so we need to sneak up on it with tiny, bite sized chunks of change. Example: I want to stop losing my temper when an employee (or family member) does something that disappoints me. That is too big and too vague and sheer willpower cannot get us there. Not only that, but our goal is stated in the negative. Our subconscious will get stuck on the word "temper" - you cannot stop losing your temper until you acknowledge you are losing it, and that is what our subconscious focuses on. The way to change this habit is to first state your goal in positive terms. If you want to stop losing your temper, what do you want to do (think in the positive)? Perhaps you want to react to situations with less emotion or you want to react to disappointments with a calm demeanor ... maybe that isn't exactly how you would state it, but you get my point? It's not what you want to STOP doing, it's what you want to START doing. That is the first thing I want you to try ... take a habit you would like to ditch (eating fast food, drinking pop, shopping when you don't have money to spend, swearing, being sedentary, yelling at your kids, watching too much TV) and state in the affirmative. What is the thing you want to do - NOT the thing you want to stop doing?
Got it? Let me explain the other nugget that I think makes sense and is worth trying!
Now that you have your goal stated in the affirmative, think of one little thing you could do that day that would move you closer to your goal.
"I will eat a healthy breakfast today."
"I will read a book tonight for 15 minutes."
"I will drink a glass of water before I have my first cup of coffee or can of pop."
"I will turn off the TV and play with the kids tonight for 15 minutes."
"I will read and respond to one old email in my inbox this morning before I do anything else."
Is that starting to make sense? You identify a baby step. And, then you do it. You do it every day for several days. Fast says that this starts to set up new thought paths from your subconscious to your conscious brain and your thoughts become altered. When you realize you can do that, you stretch your tiny goal. You then go through the same process for several days. Eventually, you have altered your thought patterns in a positive way and you believe, at a subconscious level, that you are living your goal. You can take the goal as far as you want. He shared a story of a depressed, overweight, sedentary, exhausted single mom at the end of her rope that changed her life by accepting the challenge to march in place during one commercial while she watched TV at night. It's a fascinating story to see how she moved from that tiny, almost meaningless goal, to a lifestyle where she had good energy, lost weight, went back to school and got a better job. It really is nothing short of a miracle, and it started with a tiny thought stated in the affirmative.
I did not explain all the neuroscience behind his 29 days change model, nor did I check his sources for validity.
I have not tried this model yet.
I am going to try this with my book writing project, and I'll keep you posted on it. I have been trying to write a book for 2 years and it's not going very well. I am sick and tired of talking about it - I want to do it. So, I am going to apply the 2 steps above (state my goal in the affirmative and identify little things that can get me closer to my larger goal) and see how it goes.
What is a habit that you want to change (personal, family, work)? Word it in the affirmative and get it into your subconscious (first thought in the morning and last at night)
What is one small thing you can do to move closer to your goal today?
If you are willing, I would love to hear about your affirmative goals and your baby steps. Share with us in the comments section.
GOOD LUCK TO ALL OF US WITH OUR EXPERIMENT!