Consider the following common scenario I have seen among clients and others;
They want to change something that isn’t productive; they have an intention to change it, but find that they can’t make the change happen.
They have tried everything, but can’t move past the stumbling block. This is frustrating at best, and if it continues unabated for long periods of time, it can be debilitating. People often give up. But before they give up, they beat themselves up. The outcome is less than satisfying. Often it is costing them time, money and harmony in their relationships. It prevents them from leading and influencing in many domains.
In order to help people break this cycle, we need to look at the problem as a whole, integrative human system. Often, we ask “was there an intention?” However, intention alone is not enough. There is something BEFORE intention that is crucial to our ability to make sustainable change.
It is MINDSET. But mindset does not exist solely in the mind.
It consists of an entire human intelligence system, comprised of cognition, emotions, habits, movement, posture, and things that are tangible or real. If the mindset is stuck in any of these areas, (and usually it is stuck without our conscious awareness), the intention gets stuck as well.
Habits are what keep a mindset locked in place.
The job of a habit is to resist change. Any sort of change. Habits happen in order to maintain safety and use up less of our brains’ “central processing unit.” Habits keep us functional with less effort so the brain doesn’t have to work as hard. So, when you can’t change, it isn’t your SELF that can’t change; instead it is your HABITS. By removing the habits you have from your SELF, you relieve a lot of the pressure and guilt that comes from not being able to make things happen that you truly desire but can’t yet implement.
What can be done?
- First, appreciate your habits. Acknowledge they have an important place in your life. They protect you. They keep things simple for your brain so it can reserve its energy for challenging tasks.
- Secondly, engage in a process of exploration to change the habits that aren’t serving you. This comes from looking at how they are held not only in thought, but also in our bodies, moods and emotions. Without addressing each of these, some of our capacity is compromised.
- Lastly, transformation occurs when dysfunctional habits are removed and replaced with productive ones.
The good news is that the brain is malleable and elastic.
If you learn and practice new ways, the brain will adapt. Eventually the new way becomes a habit!
What are you learning and practicing around your habits? Are you changing the ones that aren’t serving you? If not, what would it take for you to get into action? Without action, there is no change…