“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
I’m quite certain that everyone reading this has experienced their fair share of insanity. Perhaps you are like me and when you finally recognize the insanity, you ask the following question, “Why do I keep doing this to myself?” Or maybe you try to justify your actions in an effort to avoid change. Either way, the insanity will continue to rear its ugly head until we choose to do something different. Why is the change process so difficult?
Before I share my answer, I’d like you to try something. Please cross your arms like you normally would. Once you have done this, place them at your side for a moment. This time I want you to cross them the opposite way. How did that feel? Unless you are an ambidextrous arm-crosser, I’m guessing it felt fairly awkward to cross them the other way. The fact is that you’ve been crossing your arms the same way for years, but just weren’t aware of it. This activity provides some insight with regard to answering the question above…Why is the change process so difficult? The answer: we are creatures of habit and habits don’t change overnight.
Can you imagine if you had to consciously think about every step of each daily task (i.e. crossing your arms)? Thankfully, our brain allows us to achieve the majority of these tasks while on autopilot. Recently psychological studies reveal that 95 percent of everything we think, feel, and do is a result of a learned habit! While the notion of autopilot serves us well with our positive learned habits, it only leads to more insanity in the case of our negative learned habits. The great news; however, is that learned habits can be unlearned (see previous blog post on unlearning).
I invite you to begin this process of unlearning by doing two things.
Step One: Identify a negative habit you have that is creating insanity in your life. Believe it or not, this is a powerful step that most people aren’t willing to take. When we identify our habits and own the fact that we can unlearn them, then and only then can the process of change take place.
Step Two: Choose a new habit that will replace the old one. A big mistake that people make with regard to changing habits is that they use words like “break” or “get rid of” when referring to the negative habit. The Law of Resistance says that whatever you resist persists, therefore if all of your focus is on what you are trying to avoid, you will experience it even more. Instead of resisting the old habit, choose a new one that you can implement on a consistent basis. This small change will compound over time and before you know it your new habit will be acting on autopilot.
P.S. If your negative habit is to excessively complain, I invite you to watch the following one-minute video. My daughter has a message that just might help you.