Change Beliefs: The First Step in Changing Habits
Changing habits begins first by changing beliefs and last week we touched on the idea of changing habits by changing what we believe to be true of ourselves.
Let's start by opening ourselves up to what we truly believe of ourselves.
Our beliefs have their genesis in the story we tell ourselves and, like it or not, admit it or not, we all are the product of the stories we have told, and continue to tell ourselves.
Our beliefs won't change until our story changes, so let's examine our story by reviewing a day in our own life.
We Create Our Beliefs Everyday
When you first glance at your self in the mirror in the morning, do you like what you see? Does the image reflecting back put a smile on your face?
Regardless of your answer, this is the story you are telling yourself.
Does your mirror bring up a sense of disdain, perhaps even disgust, resulting in a pop-up menu listing each and every wart you have - real or imagined?
This is the story you are telling yourself.
Do you greet each morning with a smiling, "Good morning beautiful", or are the first words you utter, "Yuck?"
Again, this is the story you are telling yourself.
Regardless of how you answer these questions, you have begun the day's story to yourself about yourself and have set the tone for how the story will unfold.
As you get dressed and notice your shirt is a little tighter than last time, what goes through your mind? Is it a curse at yourself or is it a high-energy rush brought on by the challenging thought of what you are going to do so that it feels much looser next time?
This is the story you are telling yourself. Are you beginning to see the pattern, oops I mean habit?
What Are You Telling You?
Does the voice in your head - yes, we all have one - keep reminding you that you're no good, that you'll never amount to anything? Each time you make a mistake through the day is it there to remind you that this was expected and there you go again?
Do I need to say it?
When you go out for lunch with your coworkers and talk yourself into ordering a burger with fries even though you have promised yourself that lots of salads were in your future, does guilt detract from the enjoyment of the meal and linger with you long after you are back at work?
You are mastering your story, yet again.
When you get home and plunk yourself down on the couch, having talked yourself out of going to the gym by convincing yourself you will definitely, absolutely, guaranteed, go tomorrow, do you feel that pit in your stomach that comes from letting yourself down yet again?
Once again, your story!
As you prepare for bed, do you ever ask yourself how many times you gave yourself an "Attaboy" through the day vs. how many times you beat yourself up?
Self Talk Adds Up
Does it surprise you that the total tally of self-criticism adds up to a lot while the sum of self praise is zero.
Your day has been the product of your story and the more often you retell the story the easier it becomes. Here's the real problem, the more natural it feels, the more powerfully we begin to believe that nothing, can or will ever change.
And yet it can! Change can come at a dizzying pace and years of repeated negative storytelling - and the consequences thereof - can literally evaporate in very short order if you simply begin each day with a whole different story and maintain that story throughout the day.
Easier said than done? Not at all. Next week we will take the first steps in writing your new story that will enable you to sculpt the new you.
Time to Change Your Story
Your homework, between now and then, is to make a list of everything you would like, or would wish to be different about yourself. No judgement allowed - anything goes.
Outside of making you taller or shorter, there is nothing that you can't achieve once you have built the right story.
So please take your time, make your list and have it with you when we meet again next week.
Let's make a habit of meeting like this.