I’m in the business of change.
I help my clients create the changes they want to see in their lives – and I create changes I want to see in my own life as well.
I have become pretty comfortable with change. Although I admit (and my coach would call me out if I didn’t) there were more than a few temper tantrums along the way.
Sometimes the hardest part of change isn’t creating something new.
Sometimes the hardest part of change is keeping yourself from rolling back into your old story.
I hear it a lot (and I include myself in that).
“Wow! I can’t believe how simple that was! Usually, I would just…”
And with that, the old story is refreshed.
If I had a squirt bottle, I would use it (lovingly) each time something like that was said. (I still include myself in that).
I know it’s a process to move out of an old habit and into something new.
But one thing that can help that process move even faster is knowing that
how you acted in the past has nothing to do with change going forward.
It doesn’t matter what you used to do.
Especially when you make up your mind to create change in your life.
With the decision to change comes the instant nullification of what you “used to do” because you’re writing a new chapter.
A new chapter that not only includes change in your actions, but change in your beliefs as well.
When we take action, it’s because we believe something to be true.
If we believe that walking around the block won’t be beneficial, we don’t go.
If we believe that eating one piece of cake won’t hurt our ‘diet’, we eat it.
If we believe no movie is complete without popcorn, we buy it.
When I work with my clients to create change, we challenge their beliefs first.
What are all the benefits of walking around the block?
How will the movie be better without the distraction of eating while you watch it?
It’s after the change in beliefs that the change in action comes promptly into play.
And when your actions change it gives you something to push off of towards the next change and the next and the next…
However, when you take a look back and think about how things usually were, you are reintroducing an outdated system.
It’s like keeping around an ex-boyfriend when you’re trying to start a new relationship.
It doesn’t work so well.
Especially when your old relationship had a long, rocky history.
The new guy is going to feel squeezed out and not be so invested in the relationship.
When you keep reminding yourself of your old habits, it squeezes out the new ones and hinders them from taking hold.
It’s tempting to keep reminding yourself in order to see how far you’ve come.
To use it as a tool to give yourself a pat on the back.
“I used to not be able to sit through a movie with out popcorn. Now I can!”
But when you constantly remind yourself, even with the best of intentions, you are still constantly reminding yourself.
The old system is in use either way.
Your brain revives that old habit whether you’re thinking about it or actually doing it.
Move it along.
This is one of the many great benefits of a journal.
Write it down. Make a note of how far you’ve come and how proud you are.
Then turn the page and move on with confidence and pride in your new habit.
You can look back at it later if your want, but there’s no need to keep it fresh in your mind.
It’s easier than you think to create a new belief system. You can dump an old system for a newer, shiner model quite quickly.
It’s revisiting that old belief system that slows it down.
The next time you create a new, better change in your life and you feel yourself wanting to recall what your old habit was, stop yourself.
When you notice yourself saying “Usually I would…” or “Normally I would…”
Remind yourself that what you’re doing now; your new belief or new behavior is the new “Usually” in your life.
What you used to do is ancient history.
I’d love to hear from you!
What changes are you creating?
How does it feel when you create it and don’t look back?
Let me know in the comments below.
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