Last month we defined a non-negotiable habit as being a behavior that is holding us back from what we truly want to achieve — be it better health, more vital energy, more success, greater abundance, or better relationships. Something that we are presently doing needs to change for us to get there and we can no longer justify or rationalize as to why we are not doing it. We also established that an awful lot of mind energy is expended on feeling bad that we are not doing it.
One of the most powerful things you can do is eavesdrop on the tug-o-war between warring factions in your own mind. (Although we often perceive our “self” as being singular, we are really made up of a lot of different facets, just like a jewel.)
For example, one side is vigorously resisting your urge to change, and that seems to hold you back from taking affirmative action. The other side cheers you on as it carries a higher vision of yourself and aspires for you to grow. While you remain caught in the middle between them a vast amount of your energy is being drained. Therefore, it’s no wonder you haven’t been able to motivate yourself to make those changes!
Learn to take a step back while this “battle” is being waged so that you can observe the mental dynamics.
Exercise: The Conference Table
Imagine that you are the moderator of a panel discussion between the part of you that is resisting change (or stuck in the habit) and the part of you that wants to grow. This evolved aspect of you may be interpreted as your Higher Self, Conscience, Inner Motivator, Holy Spirit — whatever works for you. Ask pertinent questions so that you can discover the agenda of each party. Your resistant part may be full of fear and just wants to be reassured. Listen. And learn. Feel free to invite in any other facets of your multi-dimensional self, such as Inner Critic, Inner Child, Parent, etc.
One of my favorite books is Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, written back in the 1930’s. He suggested that we hold regular panel discussions with our heroes and mentors, living or non. His favorites were Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Edison. I often have the psychoanalyst Carl Jung at mine along with other people along the way who have inspired me. Dottie Walters, the vibrant author of Speak and Grow Rich, shares in her workshops and writings that Benjamin Franklin has been a special guide to her throughout her very successful career. These heroes
could also be representing other unpolished facets of the jewel that is You.
Invite anyone who has been an inspiration or that you greatly admire to sit at that conference table and let them contribute to the discussion.
Be Clear about your Commitment
Your mind may be telling you what you need to do to be successful, but at the same time you have to be realistic about what you are willing and able to do given the constraints of schedules, energy and resources. Think for a few moments on one of those non-negotiable issues that you may have identified last month. What would you be prepared to do to make that goal come to fruition? What would you have to sacrifice in order to get there? Are you ready to make that sacrifice? These are questions that require honest answers, from the more detached observer
side of your Self.
Find someone who already models the behavior that you aspire to and interview them as to what they do in order to be where theyre at. One of the tenets of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) is that “success leaves clues.” For example, if you see someone often at the gym who has a body that you admire, you may want to chat a bit to find out what he or she does in order to maintain that physique. (A sidenote: make sure that you are being realistic here and not choosing someone that has a body type very different than your own, because you could be setting yourself up for failure. For illuminating information on body types, see Body Image.
Determine if this person works outs in a way or a schedule that is compatible to your lifestyle or commitment level. If not, then you can realign your expectations and commitment level, so that your mind energy is not being drained on feeling bad about something that you are not prepared
Essentially, the more research you do on your commitment level, you find that you have three positive choices:
- Just do it!
- Accept yourself as you are
- File it away for better timing
Breaking Down into Components
When we think about those habits that we must make or break in order to go to the next level in our growth, they sometimes seem to be larger-than-life issues. And that contributes to our pattern of procrastination — thinking that we have to delay until we are ready to tackle such a
Getting from Point A to Point B is not necessarily a straight line. And even if it were, you’d have to take a few steps just to bridge the distance.
Perhaps if you can break down the non-negotiable habit into smaller components (steps), it would be much easier to get started. Then treat each step along the way as non-negotiable habit. Let’s look at some examples of how you can do this:
Smoking: There is definitely an element of stress here — the mood-altering sensation that comes from nicotine is helping you cope and it would seem like an enormous task to just give it up. Perhaps getting in the habit of deep breathing, or finding outlets for stress, such as exercise or a
hobby would be a great first step.
Modifying Eating (as opposed to dieting): Why not start out with one thing, such as drinking 8 glasses of water or non-carbonated, sugar-free liquid a day? Or adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
Exercising: Make it non-negotiable that you need to stretch for 5 minutes every day. This alone would give you so much more flexibility and energy, that it would be easier to take the next step.
Organizing: This is not something that comes easily, nor is it accomplished overnight. Find a system for separating your mail, such as a filing system for paid and unpaid bills to get started.
Now that you have more clarity about your non-negotiable habits, you are ready to apply the suggestions and techniques outlined in the 21-Day Secret, a powerful tool found in Your Mind: The Owner’s Manual.