Change what? What I wear? How I speak? Well, no, not in this context, in this article I will discuss how to change behaviors, emotions and habits. The only similarities with aforementioned are attitudes and steps to making different, from one thing to the other. I will outline the “how” of change step by step, assuming we understand “why” and “what” we want to change. The “when” usually depends on whether we are inspired enough or desperate enough! I have researched extensively on this subject, nonetheless I believe that my own experience is my primary qualification. In other words, this is how I changed.
In my therapy work, I am asked often how to change certain emotions. What usually happens is a realization that an overall transformation is required in other areas unrelated the initial desired outcome. For example, if you are learning how to swim; it helps to know how to float first, what needs to die inside you to change.
Courage to change: Acknowledge to yourself that it takes courage to change. It means giving up something that has had a purpose in your life, regardless if it was negative or positive. There was a payoff for you to be like that. Usually within the realms of reinforcing old limiting beliefs about yourself…to “being right” and blaming everything else for the way you are (externalizing). It helps to have the attitude you are 100% responsible for everything that happens to you.
Are you either inspired or desperate? No change occurs without a need too. To just want to change invariably ends in failure. Take New Year’s resolutions for example. So, are you inspired enough to change? Are you desperate enough to change? If you are, you must first accept and love what you are changing from. Change will not occur until that part of you that resists the change, is accepted.
What is the final vision outcome of the change? Know what you want to change too. If you don’t know your destination how can you the first step? Get yourself a couple of large bits of card paper and stick them up on your wall, brainstorm yourself. When doing this it is important to flow, imagine you have no restrictions, then create a vision. This vision needs to incorporate what you will see, hear feel when you get there, in other words what are the benefits. What do you see, feel, and hear when you get there?
Inner peace and self-esteem: To maintain and nurture the change in you, priority actions must be adopted. What are required are ritualized practices for inner peace and esteem able behaviors. If inner peace and increased self-esteem are necessary for change there has to be a profound acceptance and healing to take place (seek outside help for consistent negative behaviors and feelings).
Values and Beliefs (What stops change): In creating your picture for change, it may require an honest appraisal of the principles you live by, your values. For example: Honesty, commitment, focus, etc. This is important: When we align with our values our self-esteem goes up. When we don’t align with our values, it decreases; in this environment maintaining change is difficult. There is a presupposition here that our unconscious mind is highly moral. If you are dishonest and honesty is one of our values, the confusion and self-loathing will start creating an attitude of “why bother” I’m “bad”. When in fact you’re not bad, you are just not aligned with your values – simple to address. If this dishonesty is habitual then it is a defense mechanism derived from a belief created from an event usually in childhood (though can occur at any stage of life). For example: The unconscious “limiting belief” may have resulted from a response to parental criticism. You decided that you are “not good enough.” As a result, you discovered that being dishonest was the only way to avoid the pain of criticism. Awareness of these beliefs (that are not true, only a learned response) is very helpful in determining what are the potential hurdles in your commitment to change. Go further than just awareness start practicing behaviors and actions contradicting your normal response, “fake it till you make it.” With repetition and practice neural pathways will eventually change.
To change powerfully requires a change in consciousness, to become awake. It doesn’t just happen it requires maintenance and daily attention. To change is work. Work that you need to desire, it cannot be a chore or require “discipline” (a word that doesn’t motivate me). In other words investigate your Truth.
Inner purpose and outer purpose: My inner purpose is to achieve peace. My outer purpose to help others. With these in mind I know my path. Get clear on both your inner and outer purpose; one cannot be achieved without the other. According to Neale Donald Walsch “there is no purpose to life other than what you create.” If you keep in mind reality is a construction of your mind and its filters…recreate you.
Suggested specific workable steps to change:
1. Clear vision of what you want to change too.
2. Create a personal Mission Statement including your top 5 values you need to create change (stick this on your bathroom mirror).
3. Self-Care first. Daily ritualized non-negotiable practices in alignment with your change: Meditation, affirmations, exercise, etc.
4. Heal the past. Including resentments. Seek help if required.
5. Follow your intuition.
6. Do the opposite of what you “want” to do. Know what you “need” to do.
7. Nurture your integrity.
8. Give what you want. Create self-esteem; eg., volunteer work.
9. Know your self-sabotaging patterns. Create practices to counter these.
Written by: David W. Elsey