How to manage through small empowering changes

Have you ever read a book or a blog post and felt a profound sense of clarity—like you knew exactly what you needed to do—only to find yourself feeling paralyzed by the same old struggles hours or days later? Have you ever listened to advice and felt certain you could apply it, only to find your resolve weakening when you tried to do it on your own? Well this is something I went through and to be honest still do experience at times

I recall the experience of going through my hardest effort in trying to become nicotine free many years ago. After a long pep talk with myself, I’d feel confident that I could get past it and be committed to taking care of myself for my healing. Well, hours later I would invariably come across a situation where I would begin to get drawn back to my old habits.

While I’ve made major progress with some of my biggest demons, I still go through times when I’m inconsistent with the things that I know serve me well. In recent years, I’ve put a lot of effort into working on my own self development. However I still struggle to apply what I’ve learned at times. Since I want to continue making progress, I’ve put some thought into why it’s so hard to act on our knowledge and how we can overcome internal resistance for a lasting positive change.

Recognize the payoff in doing what you usually do:
We do things how we’ve always done them because there’s some type of pay off. This could be something we think we gain or at times something painful we think we can avoid. In some cases, this may be obvious, but we need to really dig beneath the surface to understand why we’re keeping ourselves stuck. When I used to get back to my smoking habit in spite of knowing how unhealthy it was for me and the people around me, it was usually because it gave me a sense of freedom. At other times I felt I could connect with people around me who were smokers themselves .When we understand the payoff we’re seeking and what we’re afraid of or trying to avoid then we’re better able to work with our own inner workings.

Acknowledge what you lose by doing what you always do:
Though there may be a payoff, clearly we’re also losing something else we wouldn’t want to change. How will you be more uncomfortable for not making a change? What pain is this behaviour causing you? Are you struggling financially because of it? Is it putting your health at risk and limiting your day-to-day joy? Are you feeling depressed, isolated, or lethargic? When you get to that situation, when you want to do what you always do, recognize the emotional payoff—the thinking from step 1. Then take a deep breath and remind yourself that the consequences of doing what you always do are worse.

Take every opportunity to practice, and take the pressure off:
Changing behaviour is about consistency. The more often we do something, the more instinctive it will become—and the better we’ll get at it. Think about working at it as often as possible, not doing it perfectly (whatever “it” may be).
I recently read about an interesting study that involved two groups of students.
An instructor told the first group of students that they had to make one perfect vase and told the other group to make as many vases as possible without regard for how they turned out.
The group that made as many as possible ended up producing far superior work. This was because they weren’t worried about perfection. They felt free to try new things and have fun with it. Through the process of pressure-free repetition, they naturally improved. This learning is invaluable if you ask me, not strive for perfection but just get on with it even if one fails many times. Think about applying what you know as a numbers game and strive to do it more often than not. If you mess up consider it as a learning experience and try again. In my case, when I feel the urge to light up a smoke, I remind myself, “If I light up now, I will be untrue to myself and I’ll feel bad about myself. Developing empowering habit may not come instinctively, but this is a great opportunity to practice.”

Change your inner voice:
We all tell ourselves stories about the things we can and can’t do. At times that can be paralyzing. The first step is recognizing our limiting thoughts, beliefs, and stories. The next part is replacing them with empowering ones. If you start thinking, “I can’t go out and meet new people”. “I never form any new relationships, so what’s the point?” replace that thought with, “I can meet new friends at any time if I’m open to it.”It may seem like lying to yourself if you generally don’t believe it. You’re not. You’re implanting  a new thought so that you can form a new belief structure.
We tend to find evidence to back up what we think we already know thanks to our sub-conscious mind which filters out stimuli that’s inconsistent with our belief. If you tell yourself something different and look for evidence to back it up, you will start to change that filter which will go a long way in tackling the internal resistance that keeps you from applying what you’ve learned. In this way you take what you know and transform it into something you fully believe.

Understand your triggers:
It’s easier to sustain a change if you anticipate challenges and plan a way to overcome them.For example, when I used to meet up with my buddies after my working hours I knew that I usually used to light up over a couple of beers and no matter how much & hard I tried, not to be tempted it was a challenge for me. If you’re struggling to get over say a breakup or a painful divorce , identify the things that keep you stuck—looking at old pictures, talking to mutual friends, or whatever. Then plan to avoid triggers that are avoidable and deal with unavoidable ones in a healthy way. If you’re having a hard time changing your diet recognize the things that tempt you to make unhealthy choices—having certain food in the house, or getting a large portion at a restaurant. Then plan to tackle those triggers by only buying healthy items and not getting the stuff into the house in the first place.
Whatever the case may be, knowing your triggers helps you work with them.

Track your progress:
Just as we don’t like losing things we value the most we don’t want to lose momentum. If you create some type of tracking system either a log in a journal or in a large calendar with stars for every improvement, you’ll create a psychological need to keep the streak going. We live in a world where we have more access than ever to information but it isn’t knowledge that creates change. It also isn’t wisdom or will. Change entails intention and consistent effort. Consistency doesn’t mean perfection. It means trying over and over again, and learning something from every setback to create meaningful internal change.
When we create tiny shifts in our minds, we start seeing major shifts in our choices—and in our lives.

Am sure if you are reading this line and come so far in this Blog article  then you would have probably found something useful .Do share your thoughts or if you are facing your own challenge do reach out to me either on my mail or on my Facebook Fan Page I would be glad to hear from you and see how best i can answer your query.