I’m a woman.
I have a birthright to change my mind.
I am one lucky duck!
Almost every one of us has something about ourselves we would like to change – at work, in relationships, in day-to-day habits and actions. To change your life, however, you must first change how you think. Behind everything you do is a thought. Every behavior is motivated by a belief, and every action is prompted by an attitude. To hear modern-day gurus tell it, this would seem to be a startling new discovery. However, thousands of years before there were psychologists, a verse was recorded that states: “Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts” (Proverbs 4:23).
Change always starts first in the mind. The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel influences the way you act. This means, “there must be a renewal of your thoughts and attitudes” to produce lasting change.
To illustrate this point, imagine riding in a speedboat on a lake with an automatic pilot set to go eastward. If you were to decide to reverse course and head toward the west, you have two possible ways to change the boat’s direction. One way is to grab the steering wheel and physically force the speedboat to head in the opposite direction from where the autopilot has been programmed to guide it. By sheer force, you could overpower the autopilot, but you would feel constant resistance. Your arms would eventually tire of the stress, you would have to let go of the steering wheel, and the boat would instantly turn back toward the east, as it had been internally programmed.
If you are trying to change yourself, your life, your future, everything but are not adopting a new outlook, perspective or way of thinking about your life life, it will mean a lot of hard work. And the change would only be temporary. Once you stopped trying to force the change, all would return to the way it was before. This is what happens when you try to change your life with willpower alone. You tell yourself, “I will force myself to … eat less … stop smoking … quit being disorganized and late … not respond angrily when I am under pressure.”
When we have our minds locked in autopilot, willpower produces change, but creates constant internal stress because we have not dealt with root causes of what we would like to change. Making the change we desire does not feel natural. It requires great effort and tremendous will. Eventually we tire or let down our guard and go off the diet, grab another cigarette, arrive late for another important meeting, or react with inappropriate anger because our thinking has not really changed.
The second way is better and easier: Change the “autopilot”. Let’s change the way we think. By doing this, we program in a new direction, see our choices in a new light and automatically focus on it. Let go of the old way and embrace a new, different course. We don’t have to go against the grain or constantly battle resistance in order to achieve lasting change. Our thinking has removed the idea of going back to “the way it was” and we are moving into clear water, full speed ahead at last.
I Care, Barb