Finding ways to break through
August 06, 2009
You love new techniques.
But for all those good ideas, you find they are difficult to replicate and more difficult to make a consistent part of your practice. Feeling lazy? Or just thinking “I’ll never change….”
If your self-talk sounds like this:
Gotta be better at…
Should change the way I…
Here I go again, thinking that same old thing…
But you never make the change…so…
When executing activities and thoughts, your brain initiates electrical signals along the neuronal pathways in your brain. Doing the same thing over and over really utilizes that pathway—so much so that it becomes hardwired. Now, try to do it differently and you are fighting something more deeply rooted. Something actually neurophysical.
Breaking habits requires two disciplines:
- being consistent
- being persistent
Research has indicated that rewiring your habitual pathways can take up to a month for some activities! And if you lapse your consistency part way through, you probably have to start the timeframe all over again at day one.
No wonder habits are hard to break!
As an example, let’s say you have a tendency to lead a meeting by driving the agenda—you brief the group on what is happening and what you need them to be doing next, in true control-freak fashion. You are very good at driving forward so you walk into the room ready to crack the whip and get things done.
But recently, you’d like to change that. You feel your style is not so effective and you’d like to make it a more interactive teaming session, rather than a “tell” session. Okay, so first try…you walk in ready to follow the agenda but ask a lot of questions, foster involvement, and get others talking. Next try, you write yourself a reminder, and catch yourself trying to take over but then rein yourself in. Whew. Third time, you weren’t thinking about it so you just say “awe heck! I am going to get this done the old way.”
You have just reinforced the old way. Back to square one.
Commit mentally to let the old way go. Address any fears about leaving it and acknowledge that it will be OKAY to stop doing it the old way.
Then, the desired new way must be a visible and constant reminder. Actively engage yourself mentally and physically into the reminding process. Put a post-it by the bathroom sink, one on your dashboard, and another on your computer screen. Commit to not just “seeing” it but mentally living the new way. Visualize it happening the new way as if you are actually doing it (for many actions, your mind does not know the difference between thinking and doing.)
Then do it over and over and over and over …..
It is sounding like quite the chore, huh?
That’s the cost of change. Good luck!