Do you have a behavior or habit that you’ve been wanting to change?
Did you know that there is a concrete reason as to why you haven’t changed it yet?
So what is it?
It’s because you have uncertainty about whether it’s worth it or not.
I’m still on my Tony Robbins kick so I thought I would keep sharing what I’m learning with you.
Human Beings Have Two Primary Motivations
1. Experience Pleasure – This one is no secret, we will typically go after things that are pleasurable provided there’s not too much of #2 involved.
2. Avoid Pain – No one likes pain. At both a conscious and subconscious level we will take actions to avoid it
Let’s use the “I’m going to quit smoking” example. My friend (a different one from my previous example) has smoke for nearly 10 years now. Whenever I ask him why he smokes he explains that he’s addicted and wants to quit. But does he really “want to”?
He states he does consciously but has not yet done it.
This is the uncertainty part. Although he likely not aware of it… He doesn’t really know if it’s worth it to quit.
1. Pleasure – Yes, it would be great to have freedom from smoking but from what I’ve witnesses, that’s really more of an ideal. There is a certain amount of pleasure my friend gets every time he smokes. Smoking also allows him to “fit in” better with his circles. – So if anything, there actually seems to be more motivation to keep smoking than to quit.
2. Pain – sure, there are unpleasant pictures and sayings on the cigarette package but for the most part, it seems easy to ignore those messages. I’ve seen a lot of people live by the “it won’t happen to me” motto. They see there isn’t a lot of immediate danger and therefore decide that the long term risk isn’t significant.
The other pains my friend might have are the ideals I mentioned above… his friends/family might be giving him a hard time about it (AKA me :)). He knows its a “good idea” to quit.. but it hasn’t gone much further than that… the risks haven’t become real.
So what do we have?
A whole lot of confusion surrounding whether or not its better to keep smoking or quit smoking.
With this much confusion, is it likely that a decision to quit will stick? How could anyone make a change under such circumstance?
Making The Change
Now that we’ve seen the effects of internal confusion in changing behavior, let’s take the steps to make a change.
1. Decide what you want (i know it sounds simple, but as many coaches and motivators will tell you, most people do NOT do this.)
Explain in great detail, exactly the behavior your looking to exhibit and how you will know you’ve achieved it.
2. Feel The Pain – What exactly will happen to you if you do not take action toward changing your behavior? Explain in full detail. For my friend, he might go through a graphic example and visualization of having his friends and family visit him in the hospital as if he’d become ill from smoking. Perhaps he, himself, could go visit dying cancer patients and “make it real”..
… I used to go in the sun and tan regularly but I certainly haven’t done much of that since my father died of melanoma. It’s just to real for me.
Alternatively, for someone looking to be more productive, they might write out and describe an elaborate scenario of failure and all the things it means they will miss out on.
( e.g. If I don’t do 23 sales this month I will miss my son’s baseball tournament.. if I don’t spend time with him, we’ll become distant and he’ll feel like I’m not there for him. If I’m not there for him and he will begin to resent me and I’ll have no relationship with him for the rest of my life… – extreme.. but how’s that for motivation?)
3. Feel the Pleasure – This is the exact opposite of pain. This elaborately of exactly the benefits of achieving your desired behavior. Make it irresistible. If it’s a financial goal I find a helpful exercise is to write down a quick list of about 30-40 activities you love doing and then paint an elaborate picture of achieving your outcome so that you can do those things.
No matter how established or accomplished you are, this exercise can help you get clear, and get more of what you want.
What can you motivate yourself to change today?
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