Do any of these sentences (or something similar) sound familiar?
I’ll start eating better tomorrow.
I’m going to start my diet next week for sure!
I’ll start exercising tomorrow.
I know I need to stop smoking, but it’s too hard.
That person always gets me so stressed out!
If you recognize yourself in any of these statements, or similar ones, you are not alone. Even though we want to change some behavior, some attitude, or some circumstances in our lives, often it can feel like it’s a never ending “battle” to affect that change.
Why is this so?
Although there are many factors involved, what it comes down to is how the neurology or how our brain cells connect up and form pathways. It starts with our thoughts. Our thoughts produce biochemicals. These biochemicals fire off neurons (brain cells).
“Neurons that fire together, wire together” Dr. Joe Dispenza
When we consistently think the same thoughts, we create a network of neural pathways. These network of pathways can get quite thick. It’s as if we on on “automatic” with our thinking, behaving and feeling because of the network that’s been created.
This is very beneficial in some areas of our lives. We want to have the ease of knowing already how to drive, brush our teeth, tend to our physical hygiene and many other things we do daily in our lives. Yet, if we’ve been eating the same unhealthy food for a while, not taking care of our bodies well, smoking for a long time, these “habits” have established a network of connections that are thick and automatic as well.
And…we discover that they are no longer serving us. So, we want to change.
So, you may say, I’m going to start paying attention to what I’m eating, I’ll eat less, exercise more and I’m going to lose that weight now.
And…you may find yourself doing things a bit differently for a few days and then you’re upset about something, you find yourself in a situation where in the past you behaved in a certain familiar way…and boom…you’re no longer following your plan. And…after that, instead of picking back up where you left off, you find yourself going back to those “old” habits, the ones that are so familiar.
And then it seems so hard to change and so you think, why bother?
Here’s what happened:
Those old neural pathways were still very much connected as you began to build new ones through different behaviors. The problem happened when you came upon either an upset or a familiar situation that produced the same old biochemicals which threw you back into the old patterns. The new neural pathways were not connected strongly enough and the old ones were not sufficiently disconnected. So, naturally, you go back to the old familiar patterns of thinking, behaving and feeling.
Because “life happens”, it will throw you curve balls and it will bring you upsets and/or you will find yourself in situations that want to pull you in to old behaviors.
So, how do you get to achieve your goals if your neurology is so impactful? Drum roll please….!!!
You change your thoughts. When you change your thoughts: You change your brain! You change your mind! You achieve your goals!
Changing your thoughts produces new biochemicals, which in turn produces new neural connections. The solution is to consistently keep thinking the thoughts you want, instead of the thoughts you do not want. This builds the new connections.
How do you change your thoughts?
Awareness! Awareness of your thoughts will often start with an awareness of feelings. Emotions/feelings can be an indicator of what we’re thinking or were just thinking a millisecond ago. It gets registered as a feeling. When you are feeling “off”, check in with your thoughts. Find a thought that will bring you even just a dash of relief in your “off” feelings and you’re on your way to consciously changing your thoughts!
4 more Ways to Affect Change and Achieve Your Goals:
Law of Attraction: Keep your focus on what you WANT, not on what is or what was or what you don’t want.
Mental rehearsal: Keep repeating in your mind the actions/behaviors you want. This provides the biochemicals which produce the firing of the neurons, which produces the connections.
Appreciation: When you appreciate what you already have, you produce positive feel good biochemicals in your brain and body, which in turn help you to continue thinking thoughts are in alignment with your goals. This is a great tool to use just before going to bed.
Celebrate Your Successes: When you celebrate your successes, all successes in any area of your life, you reinforce positive feelings. Positive feelings produce positive biochemicals which produce clearer thinking. Clearer thinking allows for solutions to be found to realize more successes! And now you are creating those new neural pathways for success! You can celebrate your successes by simply writing them down at the end of the day or thinking about them before going to bed, which works beautifully with appreciation!
Now that you know why change CAN be challenging, you also know there are solutions. Those solutions are already within you. Using your incredible brain and your powerful mind can bring you the life you truly desire. Just imagine!