It can often feel difficult to make positive changes in our lives. You may want to develop a new habit, such as embark on an exercise routine or a healthy eating plan or maybe you’re trying to reduce alcohol or give up smoking. It could be that you want to feel more confident or calmer in certain situations. Feeling better means that you can change your actions or just feel more at ease when you’re at a social event or in your career or studies.
Why is making change tricky?
The main reason that creating and maintaining change can be hard is to do with our mindset. Often we let our minds run away with us and control us, but what we don’t realize is, we can actually use our minds to help, rather than hinder us. With some knowledge of how our mind works, we can train it to support us rather than letting it control us with our thoughts and beliefs.
Here are some traits of the mind and ideas of how we can use it to work with us and NOT against us;
- The mind loves what is familiar and doesn’t like the unfamiliar. We are creatures of habit and every habit of action is run by a habit of thought. To implement a new habit we have to make it familiar by practicing it as much as possible (whilst realizing that at first it will feel uncomfortable). As the habit becomes more familiar, the more comfortable it will get.
- Emotions always win over logic! Have you noticed this? You logically know that you want to exercise, but the emotional side of you would rather sit and relax in the warm! To work with this rule of the mind, you need to link the positive emotions that you will feel by getting fit and healthy with the action of actually going for that run. Think about exercising and feeling proud of you, feeling empowered, strong and really good about taking care of yourself! Imagine yourself running and feeling all of these positive feelings and you’ve linked your positive emotions with exercising. This is collaborating with your mind in a great way.
- The mind responds to the pictures you use internally and the words you say to yourself in your head. The good news is that you can change the pictures and you can change the words. Using the above example of going for a run, if you tell yourself “It’s going to be painful, cold, difficult” and picture yourself running and feeling like this, of course you’re not going to want to run. However, if you change the words to “I’m choosing to do this. I’m choosing to like it. It’s going to get easier every time I go for a run. Running is good for me. It helps me and I enjoy it”. And if you imagine yourself running and saying these things to yourself, the whole idea of running changes, in your head.
Try these tips and see if they help you to make a change!