Creating lasting change is hard. The truth is anybody can establish a habit or make changes for 3, 6 or 12 months but continuing them long term can be a struggle. Creating change depends on our behaviour, it’s not what we say it’s what we do. Talk is cheap, things only occur when we take action. The biggest person who holds us back in life is ourselves. Most of us sail from day to day without any goal or target. Once we have a plan of action we can be in charge and be disciplined. For example if we want to lose weight we can only gain freedom by changing our nutrition plan. We have no right to complain about not making progress if we have not changed our daily habits. Everything in life is our perception of the situation. We all react differently. Feelings and emotions are followed by action. We decide our feelings and our perception on a daily basis, again it’s our perception. (Reference Dr. Egar, Holocaust survivor – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUSqNnEY8y0).
If we want to change our results, we have to change our behaviour. “You cannot change your behaviour without changing your perception”. I will repeat: “You cannot change your behaviour without changing your perception”. We live in a life where we want to avoid discomfort. We make our own boring stories and movies by moving from one drama to the next.
For example the 1st July is never going to come again. We have one chance to change that day, we cannot go back. Most of us just wander or drift. When we die, did we leave a legacy, what did we do with the gifts of life. Lasting change does not come from instant gratification , it comes from hard work. So if I want to run a 5k, 10k, half of full marathon, I have to commit the time, effort and discipline to achieve the result. If I go and buy and eat a sweet treat, have an alcohol beverage, get my hair done or a massage it is instant gratification. We are constantly taught through government’s, schooling and religion that the quick fix is the way, seldom the hard work. We always avoid failure and challenge in life. Life is not and should not be a comfort centric experience, it’s about growth and contribution. We have a society telling us to believe in ourselves, yet it also breeds fear at the same time. Some of our most powerful experiences in our life is when we contribute to other people lives.
When we work towards a bigger vision, planning short term to long term goals, they become part of the bigger picture. It’s not just about getting in shape, its staying in shape. Lasting change will depend on our input rather than our output. The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your environment. You can change it by looking at your programming. What are you reading? What are you listening to? What words do you speak? What are your peer group doing??
A number of research paper including a 2012 research paper: “ Is There Evidence that Friends Influence Body Weight? A Systematic Review of Empirical Research shows that yes, we are influenced by the people around us. Our input is the quality of information we are programming ourselves with. The results in our life will be a result of our behaviour. We run our own programming. Our programming is what we take in. If I don’t do something in my life, and don’t put myself out there that is down to fear (fear has to come from somewhere). Our programming is our behaviour. Your input becomes who you are. Our output is what we do with the information received. Most of us are trying to change our output but are not changing our input, our input simply stays the same. The reason people can’t make lasting change is because they adapt the output but not the input.
The consistent information coming in will determine who and what you are. That includes your diet, mindset and lifestyle. You cannot put rubbish in your body and expect it to perform. You will simply see poor quality results. We all need help with our input, it’s like the ant and the elephant, if you don’t change the input, you will keep going in the same direction.
THE ANT AND THE ELEPHANT is a great little story by Vince Poscente that represents the struggles between our conscious mind (the ant) and our subconscious mind (the elephant).
Poscente explains that in one second of time the conscious mind uses some two thousand neurons, but the subconscious mind in the same second of time uses 4 billion neurons. Is it any wonder why we want to do one thing (stop smoking, eat less, exercise more, get to bed earlier, etc) but we end up doing just the opposite? We make decisions with our conscious mind, but let our subconscious mind control our actions.
This story is about Adir, the ant. Adir lives on the back of Elgo the elephant, although at first, he doesn’t even realize he lives there. Adir and Elgo both want to reach the oasis, representative of our personal goals, but Elgo (the subconscious) keeps leading them astray. Adir, with the help of a very wise mentor and coach, Brio the owl, begins to learn how to control Elgo’s actions.
We can set up our environment to win. This would-be simple things like getting our gym bag out the night before. Put the phone outside the bedroom so we cannot snooze. Having the right food and snacks in the fridge. When the environment is healthy, it’s easier to partake in better habits.
People give up on new year’s resolutions such as diets and hobbies because it’s always easier to leave and hide rather than take responsibility. We blame the environment when our loved ones don’t match the standards that we want.
We tend to sculpt our behaviour to match our peer group. By not taking responsibility we become the victim archetype meaning ‘everything happens to us rather than for us’. When we complain and moan about others , these feelings and emotions are a low-level development coming from a place of fear. If I join in the complaining and gossiping, I join them at their level. I have to lead and raise the standard. My environment is everything from my bedroom to my handbag.
We have never had so many opportunities in our life. We have access to so many free books, podcasts , you tube with high quality information. If we wants to improve in life in an area, we need to find a peer group that raises our accountability. If we are reading and watching gossip it become impossible to change our behaviour, our output. Our output becomes critic, self-hate and loathe, arguments .Our input is what we are doing and practicing, our habits and rituals. We cannot create lives we love by doing stuff that we hate.
Change your output, that’s your habits and rituals by changing your input (what you see, listen to and speak). Find your own values and do a morning and evening routine.
Answer this question for me: “I feel happy when I ………….”
Measure or write down your daily, monthly, quarterly and yearly goals. Our rituals value progress. My life become magical when I am tuned in with my vison. My values become non-negotiable. My values become non-negotiable. Do what you love or learn to love what you do. Don’t confuse progress with progression.
The ant and the elephant, leadership for the self – Vince Poscente