Start writing a new story. It’s yours, edits as you see fit.
We all behave within the confines of how we define ourselves. We do this in all kinds of ways. Our tape is on continual replay.
What do you say to yourself?
Do you say you are no good at math?
Are you calling yourself shy?
Or no good at cooking?
The list goes on and on. We each have some sort of story that we tell internally and of course it leaks out externally as well.
What we say becomes a loop, over and over again.
Whether we recognize it fully or not, our brains work in many ways similar to a computer. We have all sorts of programs running. Many running in the background and even more working without us even realizing it.
And while our minds are undoubtedly messier than a computer, with all sorts of things colliding into one another and not running in the same exact logic gate manner that we understand with computer – there are similarities that we can use to better understand how we can make adjustments in our lives.
One of the reasons that many people find it difficult to make significant change in their own behavior is because of the power of this ever present program that we have on a loop. It is constant and pervasive. And if you don’t take control over the language you speak about yourself – it is very difficult to make any lasting change.
Our Language Becomes Our Reality
The language we use to describe ourselves has a lasting impact. Because not only does it sit inside ourselves; in our self conscious and our subconscious, we use it over and over again. We repeat it over and over again, each time giving it more reinforcement.
Then our actions follow suit with the words we use. We are bad at something, so we don’t do well with the thing, and that reinforces our belief system, proving we are right. The thing we don’t think we are good at, becomes the thing we don’t like to do. It’s uncomfortable which is close enough to pain to trigger our pain/pleasure response. That in turn reinforces our body and minds desire to protect itself from pain and to only do the pleasurable things.
See I told you this is a waste of time. I knew that would never work.
Knowing this, it becomes apparent, one major way to hack your behaviors is to hack your thinking.
So easy, right.
Simple not easy
It may be simple to understand. It may be clear. But it isn’t easy. If it were then everyone would be doing it.
The problem is that we’ve had a lot of time to be set in our ways, we’ve played this episode over and over again in our head – and so it is very challenging to break away and unchain ourselves from our old ways of thinking. It’s who I am. And if that is what you believe than that is unlikely to change without a major event shaking your thinking and belief system.
While it isn’t easy – there are ways to start priming your brain and adjusting your habits.
Always Start With Gratitude
The first is to start every day with gratitude. While it may seem that we are suddenly introducing gratitude into the conversation and it may not seem to track. But gratitude is the antidote to many things.
Starting each day with gratitude adjusts our thinking. It requires us to think about the positive. To be grateful for what we have. This is the antithesis of anger and fear, concern for the future. All of the things that we can start our day with and becomes a slippery slope. You’ve come a long way, be grateful for what you have, be grateful most for the people you have in your life.
This is a great exercise and practice to get used to the first thing in the morning when you wakeup. Not, oh, I’m so tired and I’ve got so much to do today, and where is my coffee because I need a jolt to even think about starting my day. Gratitude is a great entry point to priming your brain for positivity.
The next thing is to stop it, every time you hear yourself telling a story about who you are that is inconsistent with what you want to be.
Find a word, like Stop, that you can tell yourself. It isn’t enough to stop yourself midstream and move on, the thoughts have already been formed, so you have to connect it to something that is a mental reminder that it isn’t true. Stop, that is a story and the wrong one, it doesn’t have to be true. That is what I’m telling myself when I say stop.
Build this habit. It will take a while but that is okay. What you will notice at first is how often you need to do this. Until you spark your awareness and are looking for these stories, you won’t realize how pervasive they are in your mental dialogue.
There are other steps to take to adjust your story and then move into hacking those habits. For now, just do these two things, and do them well. It isn’t good to try and take on too many steps at one time.
Write a better story for yourself. First by expressing gratitude and then by stopping the stories that don’t lead to the behaviors and outcomes that you are looking for.
You can do it. You deserve it. And you can change.
After all, you wrote the story to begin with. It’s yours. It’s time you own it and edit as you see fit.
- Here are my top 3 practical ways to give thanks and build your gratitude muscle.
- Mary Morrissey shares 3 priming examples to help you move toward your goals and dreams with greater ease and speed.
- Four minutes with Jim Kwik on negative self talk