Updated: Feb 22
I’m a big proponent of change, especially if it means something better as a result. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t scare me or unnerve me. Even if it’s a change I initiate. Let’s face it; change is challenging.
Change equates to the unknown, and our brains prefer the known and predictable. So, when change is afoot, it throws our brains into a state of “panic.” That’s why we may procrastinate or resist change.
“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” - Lao Tzu
Oh, and did you know that 90% of the approximately 60,000 – 70,000 thoughts we have per day are repeat thoughts from the day before? So, since thoughts impact what we believe, feel, and do, we’re essentially acting on and creating the same results day after day.
No wonder change can be hard to make.
GETTING THE BRAIN ON BOARD THE CHANGE TRAIN
Now that we know some of the reasons change can be challenging, here are some things that'll help your brain to cooperate.
1. It’s essential to pay attention to our emotions because our emotions drive our actions or inaction. (They’re also a great indicator that habitual negative thinking is at play.)
For example, one of my desires this year is to empower one million people to become personally and professionally #unstoppable. To do that, I’ve got to change how I run my coaching practice.
At first, the thought of running my practice differently felt exciting, and then a pit in my stomach and a lump in my throat replaced the excitement. (This is often how fear shows up in my body.) Enter my inner critic feeding off the fear and feeding me all sorts of reasons this change would be a detriment.
Since this isn’t my first (nor will it be my last) rodeo with my inner critic and fear, I know I need to change my emotion to something a bit more empowering. Otherwise, I won’t implement the changes I want to make.
To do that, I get my journal out and begin exploring, starting with my magical question; what would I feel if I didn’t feel fear?
I’d feel excited, inspired, and empowered.
And if I felt excited, inspired, and empowered, what would be possible?
Being of service in ways I’ve yet to imagine. The potential for reaching more than one million people.
Hello, feelings of excitement, good-bye fear. From that elevated state of emotion, I'm able to create a list of options to choose from. And since being in choice provides some control and predictability, my brain hops on board.
Here’s another exercise I like to use to change my emotions. Again, with a journal in hand, I ask myself the following questions:
What do I want?
What will it feel like when what I want comes to fruition?
What can I experiment with now that will produce the same feeling?
SIDE NOTE: If moving from fear to feeling empowered seems like a bit of a stretch, give this a whirl. List all the feelings between fear and empowerment and then create experiments for each feeling – this will help you move incrementally up the “ladder” of emotions.
2. Chunk the change. You may have heard this before, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” The same is helpful when implementing change. Small steps are more manageable for the brain to navigate because they create less overwhelm.
3. Harness the power of present moment-ness. Change often kicks us into the future or the past (if the change is like something we once experienced). So, here are a few present-moment exercises to experiment with.
- Look around and begin listing all the things you see that you’re grateful for. Gratitude is also a great tool to use to elevate emotion.
- Use your senses to become present. What are you seeing, tasting, smelling, hearing, and feeling on your skin right now?
- Focus on your breathing for a few minutes – the in and out of your breath.
If these exercises don’t do it for you, no worries, I’ve got you covered. Check out Create Some Calm With These 17 Super-Easy Mindset Hacks.
IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” – Albert Einstein
It's not that we can't change or make changes. We can. We just have to remember that it’s our thoughts that create disempowering feelings that then create our resistance or inaction.
And something else to remember, you are more powerful than your thoughts, because you are NOT your thoughts.
Until next time, I'm sending you much peace, love, and light.
P.S. If you have a mindset-related question, please don't hesitate to reach out. I'm always happy to help.