We all promise ourselves we’ll take action in areas of life, yet fail to find the inner resolve to follow through. The inner conflict can carry on for years, undermining our resourcefulness and confidence in getting new behaviours to stick.
We want to gain control over our procrastination – to work out, for example, or just improve our daily performance. And yet the desire never seems to be quite enough to implement real focused change.
When we’re struggling to mute the voice that tells us it can’t be done, we give up too easily or we feel like we can’t shake off mistakes, we’re actually nurturing fear. And that fear is undermining your good intentions.
We’re never going to be productive when we’re in this head space.
Our brains are designed to operate from two positions simultaneously:
- The conscious mind – the part of your brain that analyzes, chooses and decides how you want to live, or do the thing that you’re thinking of doing.
- The subconscious mind – the part of your brain that delivers automatic processes, based on your deep-rooted beliefs.
The subconscious mind always wins when there’s a conflict between the two parts. You might consciously decide to go after your dream, but your programming says “I’m not ready, or I’m not good enough.” Guess what happens? Instead of taking positive action, your body hesitates. Your subconscious mind operates like a police officer in the background, enforcing the beliefs that you planted deep in there, over time and with constant repetition.
No wonder you find yourself playing Candy Crush rather than doing what needs to get done to move ahead.
So what can you do about this problem?
All lasting change has to happen at the belief level in the subconscious mind if you’re going to behave differently and obtain lasting results. You must clear out that doubt and worry – and arguing with yourself about the validity of the belief statement isn’t going to help you one little bit.
Start by asking what you’re most afraid of when it comes to the activity you’re avoiding. Once you have that awareness, you have 50 per cent of the problem licked. Then you can develop some counter measures for altering it.
Here’s one strategy that may help:
First, identify the fear that’s driving your belief story.
For example: If I submit my name for the project, they may not choose me.
What happens if you’re not chosen? Will someone shoot you?
So the reality is you don’t want to face the difficult emotions that come with missing the opportunity – the disappointment and possible embarrassment.
Nothing ventured nothing gained.
Second, develop an antidote to the belief statement that you’re not good enough to compete.
What if you could become okay with your emotions of competing but not securing the spot? Start by asking what the worst is that could happen?
Next, get comfortable with a new belief statement that encourages you to take the leap anyway. Intentionally push that new idea deep into the subconscious mind.
“Losing is not the end. I haven’t mastered the pitch … yet!” Or, “My life is much more meaningful than this one event.”
When I was struggling as a young parent with guilt, doubt and uncertainty, I’d remind myself every night that “today was another opportunity to learn and I’ll start again tomorrow.”
These types of neutralizing statements invite the subconscious mind to begin to build a bridge between the intention and the behaviours. When you argue with a belief, it defends itself. When you acknowledge it and choose to think something else, it loses its hold on you.
Like everything else in life, you will need to repeat the new belief statement frequently. Every time you catch yourself thinking an old, deep-rooted belief pattern, imagine you have the power to update the outdated programming.
Troy Media columnist Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications.