The Science Of Changing or Reinventing Yourself
We've all been there. New Year's Eve, and that moment after the motivational video that lights fire under our butts and suddenly we're ready to take on the world and do what it takes. We start. One day, two days, three - everything is going well, we can do this - four days, five days, six, seven, a week of being consistent. Then comes in the unexpected event that throws us off the schedule and we forget all the things we said and how we swore it was going to be different this time. Before we know it, we're headed towards "guilt road" and we're cussing ourselves for letting us down one more time. We start accepting things like "Oh I'm not a very consistent person or "It's hard for me to keep a habit going" Will we ever figure this out? If you're reading this. The Answer for you is No.
NO, you don't have to figure habits out now. That's why this post is here. To teach you what you need to know about starting new habits that stick. Starting from the science of changing to exactly how and why habits are important to help you be your best self. We'll also be looking at how best you can create and replace old habits. Stick with me.
The Science Of Changing.
It's only logical that we start here. To make understanding easy we'll use a diagram of the 'Logical Levels', but before I do, Let's get familiar with the Logical levels. What is it exactly? And how does it affect changing, behaviors and habits? The concept of Logical Levels or "The logical levels of learning and change was initially formulated as a mechanism in the behavioral sciences by anthropologist Gregory Bateson, based on the work of Bertrand Russell in logic and mathematics. Bateson identified four basic levels of learning and change- each level encompassing and organizing elements from the level below it, and each having a greater degree of impact on the individual, organism or system."
Stay with me here.
The term logical levels "...was adapted from Bateson's work, and refers to a hierarchy of levels of processes within an individual or group. The function of each level is to synthesize, organize and direct the interactions on the level below it. Changing something on an upper level would necessarily "radiate" downward, precipitating change on the lower levels. Changing something on a lower level could, but would not necessarily, affect the upper levels. These levels include (in order from highest to lowest): (1) identity, (2) beliefs and values, (3) capabilities, (4) behavior and (5) environment. A sixth level referred to as "spiritual," can be defined as a type of "relational field" which encompasses multiple identities, forming a sense of being a member of a larger system beyond one's individual identity."
The notion of logical levels refers to the fact that some processes and phenomena are created by the relationships between other processes and phenomena. Any system of activity is a subsystem embedded inside of another system, which is embedded inside of another system, and so on. This kind of relationship between systems produces different levels of processes, relative to the system in which one is operating. Our brain structure, language, and social systems form natural hierarchies or levels of processes.
And if you're wondering how it will it will look like in a diagram, here goes.
Stick with me...
In simpler English, what this Logical Levels thing explains is how we as human work out any significant change, and it shows that any change that occurs is from Identity, which is the core of who we are, downwards.
It might be a hard pill but it's true. The only way something that really can affect you is if you give attention to it. The choice is yours. You can close the tab and keep trying out to figure how to be a better person on your own or stay with me and learn how you can leverage this information to create a better life. This is science, and that means the procedures and strategies can be replicated for the same results lots of other people are having.
James Allen, the famous author of As A Man Thinketh said, "Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they, therefore, remain bound." He went on to say "Mind is the master power that moulds and makes, And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes the tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills, brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills: -- He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass: Environment is but his looking-glass."
If you put a thousand dollars into a typical beggar's bowl, he will use it, come back to sit where he sat and beg for alms again because that's who he feels on a deeper level he is, what he believes he's only capable of doing to make ends meet and that reflects in his behaviour and environment.
Who you strongly feel that you are on a deeper level produces the beliefs you have about yourself and society, and manifests itself in your capabilities, behaviors and your environments. Look at your environment ie. your health, your financial situation etc., that is a direct manifestation of your identity or who you feel strongly at a core level that you are.
So how do you really change?
In the fourth paragraph, you read that, "The function of each level is to synthesize, organize and direct the interactions on the level below it. Changing something on an upper level would necessarily "radiate" downward, precipitating change on the lower levels. Changing something on a lower level could, but would not necessarily, affect the upper levels" So how do you change? By changing your identity, which is who you are the core; the person from which the habits you want to change stem from. The person you (feel so strongly on a deeper level) that you are. How do you change your identity? Good question. To answer that in an easy to understand way, I'll explain how your current identity is formed.
How our identities are formed.
If you grew up in a home where there were constant fights, yelling, cussing and bickering. You'd most likely become an adult who has difficult relationships or is scared to be in a relationship. If your parents and adults around you said mean things to you when you were a child, you'd most likely become an adult with low self-esteem.
That is because, from the time you're conceived up until about the age seven, all the things that are told to you, done to you and done around you are writing the "program/code" for your subconscious mind.
There's a very old quote that says, "Give me a child before he seven, and I will make him mine" Aristotle put it in a similar way, "Give me a child until he's seven, and I will show you the man" The truth is, and scientists have proven that babies can hear in the womb, and up to age seven the things they pick up direct the way they think and act. This is possible because of Subconscious Programming.
Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, one of the 20th century's most influential thinkers, a man who explored the human mind more thoroughly than any other who came before him, and whose contributions to psychology are vast, explained the mind by dividing it into two parts; the conscious mind and the subconscious mind.
The conscious mind is the part of your mind that is objective and does the thinking. It has no memory whatsoever and it's designed to identify, compare, analyze and decide on information given it. It is said to be linked to a part of the brain called the Pre-Frontal cortex, in which rational decisions are made.
It's also important to know that The pre-frontal cortex is the last to develop in the brain, and starts to develop quite late, which helps to understand why children and even some adolescents act the way they do. So if the 'conscious mind' is last to develop, which part of your brain takes charge till it does. You guessed it right - the subconscious mind.
The subconscious mind is to store and retrieve data. It's the part of the mind associated with the Amygdala, which is in charge of your survival instincts, emotions and memory. Like Brian Tracy, Business and Personal development expert teaches, "The Subconscious mind's job is to ensure that you respond exactly the way you are programmed.
Your subconscious mind makes everything you say and do fit a pattern consistent with your self-concept, your “master program." The subconscious mind receives and stores the information it gets, good or bad, without judgment. All the things you think, imagine, see, read, experience, watch, and hear are writing the program for your subconscious mind and as those information and experiences are repeated, they are strengthening the program of your subconscious mind which encompasses who you are - your identity.
The subconscious mind can not differentiate between real or imagined. Research also shows that the subconscious mind is one million more times a powerful processor than the conscious mind.
Think of it like a computer, Think of the conscious mind as the monitor and the keyboard that functions to input the information and project it to our consciousness when needed. The subconscious mind is more like the storage space and in this situation, what is put on the storage is writing the program / the code for who the computer is going to be and how it will act. In essence, the subconscious holds the program.
Let's recap this information quickly so you can understand it in a more visual way.
Before the whole subconscious mind long talk, we were talking about identity and subconscious programming.
From the Logical levels of change and learning, we saw the levels on which change takes place in us. More importantly, we found out that "The function of each level is to synthesize, organize and direct the interactions on the level below it. Changing something on an upper level would necessarily "radiate" downward, precipitating change on the lower levels. Changing something on a lower level could, but would not necessarily, affect the upper levels"
With that knowledge, we see that the wisest thing for us to do would be to work on Identity if we want lasting change. We also looked at how we got our identities, which is mainly by the process of Indoctrination. That is, we were all taught to accept beliefs without questioning, and most of us spend our lives living out those limiting beliefs we were programmed with in our childhood.
If the people around you were poor, or negative, there's a ninety percent chance that that environment, and what you saw and heard and experienced in it will program you to produce the same results in life until you change that program.
I get it Elyeeka. Now how do I change it?
Great question! The same way you programmed it. The same we the brain learns. Our kindergarten teachers knew the secret. When they wanted us to learn the alphabets, and the numbers and poems, we learned it by reciting them over and over again. The magic wasn't in the reciting, it was in the repetition. That's how our brain learns.
Repeating what you ask. Repeating the patterns that program our subconscious. I'll explain. For the most part, if you were brought up to be a kind and happy person and "grew up kind," Your parents were most likely teaching you to share, allowing you to make mistakes and learn from them, and were encouraging and affirming you even when you felt bad about something.
Those words you heard, things you saw and experienced became the program that shaped your identity and now, you perform actions of kind people because you believe you are kind and you have the capabilities of kindness and happiness, then it shows up in your environment, you're positive, people love to be around you, people are kind to you and so on.
One more time let's summarize the key things to help us in our quest to become better individuals.
1. The Subconscious Mind holds our identity, works with feelings and births actions you take, which creates our results and most of our experiences.
2. The repetition of those actions and experiences strengthen the program for our subconscious minds.
3. The identity manifests itself in your environment.
4. The subconscious mind works with feelings and imagery but cannot differentiate between information that is real and that is imagined.
You have to understand, as Expert in Subconscious Programming Jim Fortin teaches, that reprogramming your mind is all about repetition, intensity, feelings, and consistency. Consistently repeating the program (experiences, information, and results) with intensity and emotion.
So to bring about lasting change, you have to ask yourself who you would be, how you will feel and (lastly) what you would do if you achieve whatever you're planning to achieve. Jim Fortin has explained that "Success is a matter of character, character is simply ways of being, and ways of being are being disciplined, being resilient, being self-integral (being able to keep the promises to make to yourself), being focused, being committed, being responsible..."
If you ask yourself this the other way round, (from what you would do to who you would be), You won't be able to effect a long-lasting change. Think of it like this, if you're a blogger who writes once a while when you're in the mood to write, you won't be getting a lot of traffic to your blog because consistency breeds traction and result, and you clearly have a problem with discipline. The main cause of your problem is indiscipline and not necessarily the fact you don't write often enough. If you decide to form the habit of writing every night, it will still be difficult if you're not disciplined. It's the discipline that will sustain the habit.
So fill in .... (Inspired by Jim Fortin)
Who would I be? How would I feel? What would I do if I've already achieved.............. ?
What should you do next?
At least three times a day, spend few minutes visualizing yourself being who you need to be, doing the things you need to do while feeling the things you will feel when it's already done. We are feeling and seeing beings because that's how our subconscious, which is the most important part of our brain works.
For example, imagine two new pizzerias open in your city and they both put posters around. Imagine Pizzeria 1 writes in bold letters filling the poster, "Come and get delicious pizza" and Pizza place 2 puts the photo below in together with their call-to-action, which one are you going to visit? Exactly. I'm choosing Pizzeria 2 too! I can relate better and the picture is already making hungry!
I've tried this process and it works but I must admit, reprogramming your subconscious is not a quick fix. It took you a long time to get programmed and strengthen it, it's going to take at least a few weeks to replace the program. It worked for me with a couple of things I wanted to achieve including writing and relaunching my brand.
What if you want to use affirmations?
The truth is affirmations (Repeating over and over to yourself a positive desired outcome) is the work of the conscious mind and affirmations in themselves don't work until you mix them with emotions. Napoleon Hill, the legendary author of Think And Grow Rich explained this by saying " The subconscious mind is more susceptible to influence by impulses of thought mixed with feeling or emotion, than by those originating solely in the reasoning portion of the mind."
So do you just to visualize and do nothing?
Surely not! Repeatedly visualizing consistently with intense emotion is there to "trick" your subconscious to believe you are already that, and while the goal is to trick it until it believes it, reprograms your subconscious and helps you take action effortlessly, you can't just stay in bed.
It's also really important to note that you can’t just eliminate a bad habit. You’ve got to replace it with an alternative. So right now, start thinking about what you do on autopilot and replace them rather than trying to merely let go of them.
You need to use this knowledge to create habits that stick. The next post will show you how exactly.
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It's your turn!? What was your biggest takeaway from this post? How are you going to make sure 2018 is your best year yet by implementing the Science of Changing! Do you have any questions or additions? Let's talk about them in the comment section below!