Three Simple Steps to Change

June 4, 2010

Change always invites a little drama, even when you want the change.  Just a few weeks ago I received my new computer and to go with it, new software, Windows 7.   As excited as I was, and as committed to the change as I was, it was still frustrating. I was slow to find things. I felt impatient and nervous getting used to the new look.  This is an example of a change that I wanted but still I had a lot of resistance around the learning curve.  Another change I created in my life is the commitment to being more “green.” 

I started recycling and made a decision to use those cloth bags at the grocery store.  But what happend the first month?  The intention was there but the action was not. The cloth bags never made it out of the passenger seat of my car for over a month, until I decided to course-correct.

Every time I went to the store, I made a secret vow that even if I was half way through the check out line, I would make myself go back to the car to retrieve the bags.  Yes, it was uncomfortable if not slightly embarassing, but the discomfort helped me create a new habit.  Now I understand that there are three steps to facilitating positive change.

1. Become aware
2. Create a new habit
3. Course-correct

Become aware
You first have to become aware that you need a change. Whether your change is out of a need, such as purchasing a new computer and new software system, or out of a desire to be a better citizen of the earth. The first step is awareness.

Create a habit
Desire and awareness alone does nothing without a plan of action.  To implement change, you must develop a new habit so you start reprogramming your brain until it becomes second nature. Otherwise,  you will have good intentions but no real change.  At first it will be difficult. You will have to think about what you are doing, over and over until one day it comes naturally.  This is the act of going from conscious competence to unconscious competence.

Course-correct
Even though it is now a habit, your old programming will kick in and surprise you.  After a year of using cloth bags, one day you still leave your bags on the passenger seat.  Six months after using Windows 7 you still can’t find the command you have used thousands of times.  After eating all the right foods you go on a binge. That is why you must course-correct. Don’t be hard on yourself and create more drama.  Just make the correction and now you have sort of done what I call a “back-stitch.”  You have sewn in the new habit and now it is stronger.

Yes, change always invites a little discomfort.  The key to getting through change is to develop new habits and this comes through training.

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3 Ways to Make Lasting Change

May 10, 2010

If you want to make a lasting change in any area of your life, apply these three steps.

1. Become more conscious
2. Create a conscious habit
3. Course Correct

Become more conscious
Consciousness is another word for awareness.  Where ever you struggle in life, whether it be in your leadership, your finances, or your relationships, you must increase your awareness if you want to eliminate the problem.  Awareness is just the first step. Knowledge alone does nothing but alert you to the problem. The next step is action.

Create a conscious habit
In orde to faciliate change you need action, in the form of a new habit. When you first create a new habit you have to think hard about changing the habit. That is because your subconscious programming is in place until you reprogram.  Reprogramming requires you to create a new habit, one which eventually will become part of your unconscious programming.  For example, when I first started using cloth bags to do my grocery shopping, about 80 percent of the time, I forgot to grab the cloth bags until I was half way through the store with groceries in the cart.  I kept making promises to myself that eventually the new habit would sink in, after all, I was aware of what I wanted to change. My change did not become pemanent until I decided to course correct every time my old programming took over.

Course correct
When you start a new habit, you may find yourself even three or four months later slipping back into old programming. This is your perfect opportunity to course correct.  Even after a full year of using cloth bags at the grocery store, occasionlly I would go to a different store, or change up my routine and sure enough, I would forget and leave the cloth bags in the car.

What changed this old programming once and for all, was to immediately course correct. That’s right. Even in the middle of shopping, once I realized I had left the bags in the car, I trudged out to the car to retrieve the bags.

Why? Because I know if I keep making excuses, eventually I will get out of the new habit that is not yet completely programmed. If I experience  a little discomfort by making myself course correct the moment I recognize the problem, then I am more likely to create a solid habit that eventually becomes second nature.


Why Reinvention is Difficult

February 27, 2009

It always looks easier than it is.  You visualized it. You did your research. You watched others. Then you jump. You decide to start your business. You decide to invest a large amount on re branding, or you make the leap to reinvent a part of your life.

This is what you wanted, so why are you feeling so scared?
Is it your “negative beliefs?” Are you just incompetent?  A victim?

This was some of the “head drama” going on in my mind when I reinvented about 10 years ago.   Now I know that reinvention is difficult. Here is why:

1. Old habits die hard
2. Your brain is wired to warn you of change
3. You have no model to work from

Old habits die hard
Experts say we think over 60,000 thoughts per day and at least 85% of those thoughts are either repetitive or negative. With that in mind, think of how exhausted your mind is when the old thoughts no longer work for you.  When you reinvent you are in essence you  have to think hard to create new habits and new thoughts, therefore it is exhausting which translates to “not comfortable.”

Your brain is wired to warn you
There is this little part of your brain called the amygdala, par tof the limbic system located in the temporal lobe of the cerebral hemisphere. when you go through a big change the amygdala shoots out chemicals that manifest as fear, anxiety and doubt. Again, you will be uncomfortable when you reinvent.

You have no model to work from
If you are breaking new ground…for example you are the first in your family to start a business, or you are building something innovative, you will probably make many mistakes and miss many opportunities. Until you have a clear vision or a model to work from you will experience a fair amount of disappointment, frustration or fear.

Here’s the good news: The subconscious can and will solve any problem if you know how to direct it. Here are some quick solutions:

1. Read books like “The Answer” and “The Master Key System” so you can learn more about how the brain and the subconscious mind works.
2. Join a mastermind where you can tap into the ideas of other successful people who may have different talents and a bigger point of view with no emotional attachment.

3. Remind yourself that when it comes to growth, comfort is not a requirement.

Go here to see more about joining the SYD Mastermind.