Change is hard. (?)
How many of us have bought into this belief? I heard world-renowned hypnotherapist Marisa Peer state that change is not hard, it's just unfamiliar. This is so true. Our brains are wired for survival. We have protection mechanisms in place that are wonderful so that we can avoid danger. This not only served our ancestors well, but it also continues to serve us well today in certain situations. It becomes a problem however when we don't recognize it for what it is and continue to stay in patterns that don't serve us just because they feel familiar.
Our brain is constantly subconsciously seeking out, that with which it is familiar. This starts at birth and continues throughout our lives. Babies learn to recognize familiar faces. They are comforted with familiar objects and routines. We have been designed this way. Anything we find familiarity with makes us feel better, even when those familiar things are not good for us. An extreme example of this is when people tend to stay in an abusive relationship fully knowing that it's harmful to them. It's FAMILIAR. Repeated patterns like habits are familiar behaviors. Once we grasp this principle, making a change gets easier. Understanding ahead of time that our own biology/brain may buck against us when we seek to make a change allows us to just accept that for what it is. Our biology likes familiarity.
So Now What?
Simple. All you have to do is to make the unfamiliar, familiar. That happens fairly quickly. You start with the mind. Tell it that your new action is now going to become familiar to you. You CAN tell your mind what to do. It must listen to you. Then as you perform the new action your brain will begin to lay down new wiring. When this action is repeated the brain starts to lay down deeper tracks and the previously unfamiliar now becomes familiar. In the beginning it feels new and different. Just know that it's normal. But as you continue to make this new behavior familiar then the brain will seek out more of it.
This principle can be used for any change you want to make.
Goal: "I need to improve my health because I want to have more energy and feel better."
This might feel like it's going to be hard to change because it means you're going to have to make better eating choices, start exercising, possibly go to bed earlier, etc. You can do it though because you already have! Just not in the direction of your new desired outcome. You may have made being complacent when it comes to exercise familiar now. You may have made eating a bunch of sugary foods familiar. You may have made staying up late watching tv familiar.
What if you began to tell your mind that taking better actions to get your new outcome is not hard, but rather they're just unfamiliar activities for you. Once you make them familiar then they will become easier because the brain likes familiarity. For many people on this planet, eating healthy and exercising daily is not only easy, but it's also enjoyable. That's because they've not only told their minds that these things are good for them and it's what they want to do, (making those thoughts familiar), but they also made those choices so familiar that they've actually become habits.
This doesn't only apply to physical habits that you want to change. It can apply to anything.....even things like how you react in certain situations. This is a big one! Try to make being patient with your kids familiar. I, myself am working on this one!
Pick an area of your life that you want to change.
Figure out what steps you need to take in order to get your desired outcome.
If it feels like it will be hard to do, then remind yourself it's just unfamiliar.
Take the actions that are necessary and make those familiar.
Continue to choose thoughts that are in alignment with your goal and make those thoughts familiar as well.