I’ve made a lot of changes in my life, and as a hypnotherapist with thousands of past clients who have made changes too, I’ve come to believe that change is easy.
I’ve also come to believe that permanent change isn’t easy - it takes real commitment.
So how do we make changes that last forever?
There’s a pattern of activity in the brain that happens every time you make a noticeable change, and that brain activity creates a predictable pattern of behavior. We call it the Dynamics of Human Change.
Watch this video, and then we’ll talk a bit more about making change permanent.
How many New Year’s Resolutions or other changes have you made in the past that got thrown down the toilet when you hit that resistance and make your first “mistake?”
Turns out, that wasn’t a mistake. Just natural, human behavior patterns.
And once you know that, you’ve completed the first step in making change permanent: awareness that you will fail along the way, and that it’s OK.
Make your New Year's Resolution in 2016 different.
What was your reason for changing?
The next step in making change permanent is to find a big “why” (what some call a Vision, a Purpose, a “for the sake of…”).
I say a big purpose, because your reason for making change has to be more powerful than the resistance that’s coming your way.
Compare these 2 possible scenarios of Small vs Big reason.
1. Small reason.
Let’s say I want to stay motivated to exercise, and my reason for doing it is “lose weight and get so-and-so to ask me out.” Then, after I’ve been kickin’ ass at the gym for a couple weeks, resistance finds me laying in bed when my alarm goes off early so I can hit the gym.
My self-talk options, powered by resistance, sound like this:
- “I’ve been doing great. I deserve a break.”
- “S/he hasn’t even called me in over a week . . . s/he might not even like me.”
- “What do I care anyway? There’s other fish in the sea.”
The problem with these self-talk options is that they’re all pretty easy to believe, because our reason for going to the gym was small, and it was based on someone else’s actions or feelings. No-go.
2. Big purpose.
Let’s say I want to stop procrastinating, and my reason for doing it is “fundraise $10,000 to help end poverty in Africa.”
I’m making my to-do lists each day, I’m excited about my purpose, people are donating for a week or so, and then resistance comes along in the form of 5 rejections in a row.
Self-talk will still try to stop us, sounding like this: 1. “People aren’t donating. I’ll never raise $10,000!” 2. “It’s not like I can actually do anything about poverty in Africa.” 3. “This sucks. I don’t want to do it anymore.”
Can you already feel the difference?
Because you stepped out in support of a purpose way bigger than yourself and your own needs, these petty little statements feel small compared to “…but people are suffering! I’ve got to help!”
How do you stay focused on your Vision?
I’ve got 2 favorite ways to keep my mind focused on the long-term results that I’m all fired up to create, as I live into my Vision.
Tip Number One.
Put a quarter in the pocket that you don’t normally put coins in, and every time you feel it there, you say your Vision out loud (in the present tense, as though it has already happened).
Like this: My Vision is “global collaboration for a sustainable future.” The project I’m choosing is to start a TED conference for Environmental Thought Leaders.
When I reach into my pocket for something and feel the quarter, I say, “People all over the world are watching my TED videos and taking action.”
Tip Number Two.
Change all of your internet passwords to something that brings your Vision to mind (and then turn off the “remember my passwords” thingy on your browser!)
Every time you check your banking, use Facebook, or write a comment on YouTube you have to enter a password that says, “TEDgreen2015” or something.
It’s time for you to take action, and make change, permanently...
You’ve only got to answer 3 questions.
- What do you want to change?
- What’s your big reason for making this change now?
- How will you keep that reason in front of you while taking consistent action?
Because you’re human, we know that resistance will come along, and you might fall off the horse for an hour or a day or two.
Yep . . . that sounds human alright.
Now focus on your vision, and keep taking small steps, one at a time.
The world needs you. There’s a calling inside you that must be answered, and answering that call is the commitment that creates permanent change.
So what are you going to change today?