Have you ever tried to change something, give something up or start something new and not managed it very well?

Like going to the gym.

You know it’s a good idea and there are lots of reasons why you should go, but after going once or twice the motivation fades and you give up.

Or giving up alcohol.

Again, a great idea – at this time of year many of us are convinced we need to drink less – but after a week or two of moderation we’re back in our usual pattern.

What does it take to break the pattern and make a change like that successful?

 

The power of the subconscious

 

When the rational mind knows a change is necessary but it doesn’t happen it means that something else is getting in the way – something not rational. It may be a deeply held belief, an unconscious desire or an emotional block.

If the change is going to stick it’s not enough to reason with yourself – the conscious mind is on board. It’s the much more powerful unconscious mind that needs to be addressed.

Well, that sounds easy then – change the unconscious mind and the change will stick.  Except how do you do that?

As with all our work, the first step is awareness. Working out the real reasons why you don’t want to go to the gym or why you want to continue to drink alcohol is a good starting point.

You will have a history of experiences and observations that support your current patterns. On the back of those experiences and observations you will have made very reasonable assumptions and drawn conclusions that then form the bedrock for your beliefs.

Unfortunately your experiences and observations are then re-inforced by your existing beliefs as your unconscious mind seeks to reaffirm them.

 

A change of perspective

 

For example, I had a miserable experience with PE and sports at school. I wasn’t very good at it and it was hard work for me. Others were much better than me and they seemed to find it much easier. It was an easy step from there to assume that I was just not cut out to be a sportsperson.

Those who have read my biog, or know me at all, will know that my four children are all martial artists – black belts in Kung Fu or Tae Kwondo. A few years ago one of their instructors tried to persuade me to take up Kung Fu. His experiences, observations and assumptions led him to believe that I would be quite good at it. Mine did not.

Rationally it was a good idea – exercise is good for you, time spent with my family doing something they enjoyed, I was going there anyway to take them….. Lots of really good reasons. And no physical reason why I couldn’t.

But before I could successfully take up the activity, I had to undo the sub-conscious conditioning of many, many years (and more than one PE teacher!). I had to recognise that the rather shaky foundation on which my current beliefs were founded wasn’t necessarily the real and whole truth about my relationship with sports.

Once I was able to open my mind to other observations and experiences around my sporting ability and my enjoyment of sports, I was able to shift my assumptions and develop a different belief system, and now I have a new set of patterns….. and a green belt in Kung Fu!

If you’d like to take the first step in raising awareness of your patterns and beliefs you might want to come along to one of our public courses, where awareness is the first step to changing your impact, your management or leadership ability and your life.