Why is it so difficult to change?
Usually when we were growing up, even if we grew up in a highly positive environment, it’s likely we heard the word "No" or other negative statements quite often. And certainly much more often than we heard the word "Yes" particularly from the greatest hypnotists on earth, our well-intentioned parents. For example: "Don't get into that." "Not right now." "Stay out of that." The answer to "Can I have this?" "No" "Stop doing that." Etc. These statements seem quite meaningless at the time and nobody meant any harm by using these negative words around us. They likely only responded according to their level of awareness at that time. This is under the best circumstances. The damage is multiplied when there is abusive to consider, which is quite common.
Why these words have such an impact is that between ages 0 and 4 years old, approximately 50% of our beliefs about the world and ourselves are in place. Our beliefs influence our feelings, which influence our behavior and our behavior influences the results we have in our lives. Between ages 4 and 8 another 30% is put in place. And between ages 8 and 18 another 15%. That means 95% of our programming, most of which is negative, is hardwired into our brains by the time we our 18 years old. Our behavior does not change much after we graduate from high school, unless we do some major work on our personal growth.
Think about your attitude for a moment. How much difference is your attitude from the time you were 18 and today?
Let's begin there...with change. Whether you want change or not, it's inevitable. That is the only thing in life that is constant. You can either let life dictate those changes or you can take charge of your own life and create the changes you want.
I have created a list of the top ten things that you can do to create the changes you want in your life. But first let's go over another list:
Top ten things that you can do to let life deal change to you.
1. Play the role of a victim... you get benefits!
2. Always complain about everything… people love to hear it.
3. Lie to yourself and others often.
4. Make sure you allow fear to stop you.
5. Believe in your limitations.
6. Do nothing.
7. Don't listen to any advice... keep talking why things aren't working.
8. Maintain unhealthy relationships
9. Keep the T.V. on all the time.
10. Do the same thing over and over and expect a different result
The Top Ten List:
1. Be honest with yourself. In order to get from point A to point B, it's more important to know where you are first. We all have behaviors that are keeping us from getting what we want. You weren't born that way, but these bad habits and limiting behaviors have been in place for years. What are the behaviors that are limiting you? Not to beat up on yourself, but I suggest you make a list of just what is your life situation right now. Not how you hope it will be, not how you tell other people it is, but how it really is for you right now. And not to judge it either, when you make this list, just state it matter of fact, like you are taking an inventory of your car. The car is blue. It's a 1999. It has a scratch on it. It's comfortable to drive. The tires are bald. It gets 25 miles to the gallon. You see how I am just describing it, without saying it's bad or good or right or wrong. That's how I want you to make this list about your life situation. Also, you are not your life situation. You are living with it or in it right now. The easiest way to do this is to kind of step out of you and observe and notice what comes up for you.
2. Have acceptance for yourself. Now, once you have this list together, accept it, own it, and take responsibility for it. Why do this if there are things you want to change? Let me ask you this? Have you managed to change the things on your list that you have NOT accepted? Obviously that is a big no, since they are on the list. Not accepting the things you want to change on this list is what is keeping you attached to them. What you resist persists. If you are 25 pounds overweight, you can't change it right now. You can't fix it in this moment. There is nothing you can do to change the fact that right now you are 25 pounds overweight. "Oh, I can go on a diet and lose the weight." Have you succeeded at this yet? Why? Because you are in denial. You cannot change until you get out of denial and accept your body the way it is right now. It is all you have right now. This has been the biggest breakthrough point for many of my weight loss clients. This is true for all of your issues. Accept your issues. Accept responsibility for creating them. Oh, that's a biggie too! What? How did "I" create this? Another reason people don't change. They don't believe that they created their problem in the first place, and therefore feel powerless to do anything about it. All I can say is trust me on this one. If you accept the power for creating the problem, then you become empowered with ability to change
3. Have compassion for yourself. Ok, so you know where you are, you accept it, and you know you did it.
This is the time to just have a little compassion for yourself. Forgive yourself. Be understanding. You are not perfect. We become more aware all the time, if we are open to increasing our level of awareness. At the time you made some of these choices in your life, you likely made them at a lower level of awareness. You made choices based on what you thought were the best decision in the state of mind you were in at the time. So, be gentle with yourself. Get in the habit of saying could have instead of should have. "Should" is a word that I recommend removing from your vocabulary, whether speaking to yourself or toward others. Notice what happens when someone says, "You should..." Don't you feel made wrong somehow? As soon as you begin to love yourself with all of your issues, you will notice your attitude your inner self changing and you will be coming from a place of partnership with yourself, rather than working against yourself.
4. Set SMART goals. We talked about point A. You know where you are. Now let's decide where we are going, point B. Here's an important thing to consider here. In my practice, I talk about goals with my clients all the time. A goal is something you wish to accomplish. It is not just getting rid of something. Notice how easy it is for you to think about what you don't want. I don't want to fight anymore. I don't want this job. I don't want to be hurt anymore... etc. However, like attracts like. When your molecules in your brain are focusing on the things you don't want, guess what? That's what you will continue to attract. So, make a goal. Now, don't just set a vague goal like, "I want more money." How much more? Your subconscious mind is your genie, and you are conversing with this genie all the time. It's important that you be very specific in your requests. So use this SMART system. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Risky, and Timetable. Specific and Measurable... your goal has to be quantifiable. Don't be wishy-washy! Your goal has got to be something you believe you can have. Now, don't get caught up in the specifics of how. You don't have to know how you are going to achieve it and that could be a risk for you. Strike a balance between Risky and Attainable. Maybe go one step further in your goal than you think you can do, but not so much that it seems totally unrealistic. And Timetable. This is your by when it should be completed. Do not leave this open ended otherwise you will never get it started. And write it down. You will be amazed how much power there is in writing down your goals.
5. Visualize your ideal outcome. Now that you've got your goal, it's time to fantasize about it! Why not take a break for 20 - 30 minutes a day and spend time in your mind visualizing yourself having attained this goal? This is a great way to speak to your subconscious mind because your subconscious thinks in pictures. Which brings me to another point. Everyone can visualize. It just takes practice. For some it comes more natural, for others it's a skill. Just because you don't see life like images in your mind, doesn't mean you are not visualizing. If you were to describe your house or your car or your spouse to someone, you would likely see faint pictures in the background of your mind flashing as you are recalling this information for you to describe these items. The more relaxed you get, the easier it is to visualize. Think about dreaming. You see things in your dreams right? That is probably about as good as visualization gets because your critical mind is completely out of the way. But in most cases it's not quite that clear or lifelike at all. Just practice and you’ll get better. And visualize with all of your senses too. Involve your emotions, your hearing, taste, touch, sight, and smell.
6. Desire the change. How bad do you want this goal? If it is too much work for you to think about it for 20 minutes a day, how important is this goal? Also, you cannot give up anything that you find desirable. Whatever we desire, will eventually consume us. For example, say you desire to be thin. (I like to say this rather than lose weight because people have a tendency to eventually find things that they lose.) So, you go on a diet. What happens is that the desire for food begins to consume you and so you eat the stuff you have been depriving yourself of and fulfill your desire. You had a bigger desire for the food than you did to be thin. When actually underneath that, you really had a bigger desire to fulfill whatever it is that food is helping you to fulfill. In Hypnosis, you can find out what your real needs are, fulfill them in a healthy way the really satisfies you. I use weight as an example, however this is universal. You can apply this toward anything.
7. Believe you can do it. OK, back to those old programs. You have your SMART goal. It is something you really desire. You can even see yourself having it. But do you believe you can actually achieve it? What do your programs tell you? "You don't deserve it!" "Your not worth it!" "You can't do it" You may not be able to hear those exact words, but something has stopped you from having your dreams become a reality. What are your deepest beliefs? Napoleon Hill who wrote the book, which I highly recommend, Think and Grow Rich, said, "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve." You have got to believe in your goals. The best way I have found for turning this situation around is to get in touch with your limiting thoughts. Write down at least ten things you tell yourself that keep you stuck. Then, re-write the list on a new sheet of paper, revising these into positive suggestions. For example, use the weight goal again. Negative belief: "I can't control my craving for sugar." Converted to a positive suggestion: "I have a strong desire to crave healthy food." Notice that I’m not just saying, "I crave healthy food." I do not ask you to lie to yourself. I ask you to focus on what you want more than what is limiting you from having what you want.
8. Take Action Now! No matter how much you desire it or believe in it, it doesn't happen until you put some energy into it. You must do something toward your goal every day. Even if it is a small thing. Act as if you cannot fail at this and just keep the momentum of doing whatever you know needs to get done. Don't let fear of failure stop you. Failure is fine. It’s perfectly o.k. To fail. Many of the most successful people you have ever heard of failed many times before they succeeded. It just got them one step closer to their goal because now they knew one more thing that didn't work. Learn from your mistakes. Do not become paralyzed by them. It's also not important to know every step involved. Take the first step and the next one will be revealed to you.
9. Change your negative self-talk. Most people would never speak to a child the way they speak to themselves. "I am" is the most powerful statement you can make. Let the words that come after "I am" be positive and toward what you want. Take this seriously. These words will directly influence how you feel about yourself. If you feel like an idiot, like when people say, "I am such an idiot" or other comments they blurt to themselves for messing up, then how much of a chance do you have at finding solutions to your problems. An idiot can't figure it out. How about, "Whoops, I made a mistake." ... Or go one further "Even though I make mistakes sometimes, I am still intelligent." If you do find yourself engaging in negative self-talk, which you will from time to time. Just say, "cancel" and immediately replace that thought with something positive.
10. Replace negative habits with positive habits. We all have negative habits. Maybe it's staying up too late, eating the wrong food, swearing too much, speeding, etc. Whatever it is for you, make a list of your negative habits that you want to change. And next to those items on that list, write down a positive habit that you would like to create, perhaps something beneficial that will help you on your path to achieving your goal. You cannot get rid of a habit without replacing it with something else. There is a void where there was once a habit and nature will come along and find something to put in its place or you'll go back to the habit. That is why people who quit smoking gain weight. They weren't consciously thinking, I am going to replace smoking with eating, but that is what happens if you don't actively participate in creating a new habit. You can decide what it is, rather than nature coming along and deciding for you. Now, once you have this list of negative and positive habits, work on one at a time. Don't go, "I am changing everything in my life right now forever and ever more and think you are going to erase all of your bad habits over night forever. Work on just one and you will be amazed at the increase in your self-confidence just by changing one thing. Once you have that one down, it may be a week later or it may be two months later, move on to another habit. If you think about the most effective and successful people in the world, what kinds of habits do you think they possess? Our results are directly affected by our habits. Change your habits and you will change your results.