Most of us are slaves to habit and familiarity. Our present environment is a symbol of our present thoughts. My family is me, my job is me, my friends are me.
It has been observed a wounded animal will return to what is familiar. Because man is also an animal he likes familiarity and in time of trouble will also return to what is familiar. This bit of knowledge is how criminals are tracked down. For instance a white collar criminal who has expensive tastes in cars and fancy restaurants will not be difficult for the authorities to locate. He will be driving his favourite type of car to his favourite restaurant.
A wounded pet will make their way back home. There is a compelling force driving us to old surroundings because these surroundings remind us of how we were or are supposed to be-they are comforting and reassuring. It is no wonder old habits die hard. How do we break away from habit? What is the secret to changing a lifetime of habit?
There is very little growth in an adult. Researchers claim we stop using are brains around the age of thirty. We rely on what we have learned in the first thirty years to carry us over the next thirty. While I was studying NLP therapy, my instructor told me with counseling most people will only change about six percent. That wasn’t high enough for me-I wanted to change the world. Scientists are not saying people who retire should go back to college to reactivate their minds. This has to be upsetting to those who have done the same things for sixty years. How does one go about changing years of habit?
Many people who have had near death experiences or have had severe trauma in their lives come away with instant change. Their lives are never the same and it is most noticeable by those most familiar with them.
Meaningful change does not have to come by hitting yourself over the head with a hammer-nor do you have to sign up for courses or college. Change can come fairly easily, in simple steps, which are subtle and for the most part unnoticeable.
Before change can come there needs to be a desire for change. A commitment to do something about it, and from there on it is simply a matter of developing a new habit-a habit of change. A complete lifestyle makeover can be accomplished over a period of time without the trauma from hitting yourself over the head with a hammer or leaving your present circumstances. Habits are physical demonstrations of a mind that is boxed. Habit simply means you are doing the same thing over and over again-there is no growth in repeating steps. The very meaning of life is-movement!
Lasting change does not come with making a change, but a with commitment to keep changing until it becomes a habit-a habit of change.
One of the best times to start your change is first thing in the morning. Commit yourself to making at least one tiny change everyday and it doesn’t have to be the same change. Try turning your alarm ahead or back 10 minutes. In other words get up at a different time tomorrow morning. Probably, no one will even notice. Instead of going straight to the bathroom try walking through the kitchen first on the way. If brushing your teeth is one of your first rituals-change it. Or change the brand of tooth paste you are using.
Try leaving your house 15 minutes early for work one morning or take a different route-your will see new people and different things. When you go to the mall or shopping downtown-part away from the store you want to go into and try walking for a block or two-you will discover new things and maybe even meet someone new, or be reacquainted with someone you already know.
The point I am trying to make here is to make small subtle changes which will not upset your life or those around you. Make this your priority every day-to do something different.
What you are going to start noticing is how things start changing around you and how people will start to treat you differently. They will evolve at the same rate as you do. They will notice a change in you and want to know what it is. They will start paying more attention to you and may want to get closer.
When I get up each morning I make my way to the bathroom without turning on lights. In fact I keep the lighting in my place subdued most of the time. I like candles and indirect lighting and nothing too bright.
This morning I got up a little earlier went to the washroom with my eyes closed-came back to my computer and started writing this article. Halfway through the article I thought about my morning tea and what I have been writing about. I decided to turn on all the lights in the kitchen/living room. Two things stood out for me-there were a few dirty dishes in the sink and my living room was very colourful. The colour was coming from things that were in the room.
I decided to wash the dishes and afterwards I made breakfast for myself instead of meeting my co-workers at the restaurant. I also went to work an hour later than I normally do and managed to complete this article and there are no dishes in the sink.
I normally do not recommend making these many changes in such a short period. However, I have been practicing for some time so when I make a change it usually leads to several changes and it last the rest of the day. From time to time I find myself goofing off and returning to old habits, but I do not chastise myself. I simple notice the change and make corrections-after all, it’s the trip that counts-not getting there. Also, if I am noticing old habits, it simply means I am aware and that is exactly what I want-awareness. With the awareness of change comes opportunity for change.
As you cultivate your habit of change, you will begin to make bigger changes and you will start ranging out. You growth will start to accelerate and you may find yourself in conflict with those around you and who know you the best.
Remember this-people will not want you to change-they will try to hold you back. It is very important during this process for you to find new friends and people who will support you. There are others who cherish growth and nurture it in others. For the most part your family and friends will not support you. They have expectations of who you are and how you should be-and many people do not want to be left behind. If you are growing and they are not, they will not be able to relate to you the same way-you will remind them that they are not growing. They won’t want to be stuck at the station watching you get on the bus and leaving.
Plan ahead for your transformation-dedicate yourself to changing your circumstances. Be thoughtful of yourself and the feelings of others-most importantly trust your instincts and don’t back down. Don’t make any big steps until you are ready-firmly establish your routine of change. At some point you may find a niche that feels right and you may not want to go any further-that is OK. Start over with little changes keep up the habit no matter how settled you are. Small changes don’t have to lead to major upheavals. Sometimes they are just the spices which make the rest more interesting and satisfying. The secrets to changing are small secrets which you discover everyday. You find them by looking for them in everything you do-everyday!