You Can’t Change Because You Won’t Change
If you’re dreams are dying it could be because you don’t understand the power of what I’m about to tell you. What are the 5 most important things in your life? Family? Spirituality? Hope? Success? Integrity? Chances are you aren’t clear about what the 5 things are and even if you did, your behavior is proving they aren’t important to you. You know you need to change but you won’t. It’s true, you can’t change because you won’t change. You’re part of the 95% of people who have joined the ‘cult of average club.’ They are good people, nice people, but they are people who leave the most important things in their lives on the table.
One reason is that people don’t have a clue about the underlying forces that drive their behavior. Most people refer to these as ‘values’ and they are some of the most important things to get clear in your life if you want to live a life filled with rhythm and purpose. Otherwise, you will regularly feel stressed, frustrated, and purposeless.
What’s happened to every single one of us, is that we have allowed certain behaviors to be implanted into our lives that aren’t important to us. Why? Because they’ve worked for us at one time. We may have derived a short-term pleasure from the behavior or we may have received certain accolades and attention for those behaviors. So we do them again and again, until they formed a habit. Here’s the problem, once they don’t work for us anymore, we are still stuck in those behaviors because they have become automatic. They are fixed in our lives as a habit.
Here’s what Charles Duhigg says about it, author of the book: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. “A behavior becomes a habit, as it becomes automatic, it moves into the basal ganglia, which is one of the oldest structures in our brain and it’s near the center of our skull. And when things happen in the basal ganglia, it doesn’t feel like thought. That’s why a habit feels automatic, is because it’s happening in this part of your brain that for all intents and purposes, from what we think of as thinking, is completely exempt from that process.”
In other words, once a habit is formed, we often don’t even realize it’s there anymore. We still get the short-term reward for the habit, but it can often cause discouragement and anxiety in our life because it’s not really what we want to be doing.
I believe in the power of programming new habits so much, I radically changed my life. I knew that I was too locked into old patterns and desperately needed a change and a fresh start. So we got rid of everything in our lives, sold the cars, got out of debt, left what was familiar and moved to Barcelona, Spain.
It’s been the best thing I’ve done for myself and my family in the last 10 years and this decision is going to completely change the course of our lives. I’m sold out to the vision and so are my wife and kids. Every one of them will tell you, even in spite of the hard days, it’s been one of the most powerful things they’ve ever done. Now, you don’t have to move overseas, but you are going to have to do something radical in your life to get to where you want to go. Here’s why.
How Can I Change?
Underneath the surface of your consciousness, you are directing your life by a specific set of beliefs that are extremely important to you. It has the ultimate say on, ‘why you do what you do.’ If you are doing things outside of these beliefs or values, it causes internal conflict. That internal conflict manifests itself in certain behaviors that effect how we feel about ourselves.
This is something called cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance is, “the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioural decisions and attitude change.” So, you are doing things that either (a) you don’t want to do or (b) you are living a life you really don’t want to live. Sadly, the world is filled with people who live this way.
One of the clearest examples of cognitive dissonance is cigarette smoking. Even after the FDA had clear warning labels on cigarette packages stating, “smoking causes lung cancer,” people continued to smoke! This is a clear example of how people are controlled by habit even at the peril of personal harm, risk, or even death. Much less the death of their dreams.
Hit the Reset Button on Your Life
What we need to do is hit the reset button on what matters most to us, but most people won’t do it and will stay the same. Why? Because it takes work. It takes courage and accountability. It takes a deep dive into our lives about what really matters to us and we have to make the effort to give our lives a major overhaul so we are living according to our values. Believe me, it takes time to undo old habits we don’t want and install empowering habits we do want. There is no #lifehack or quick fix involved in this process. Let me assure you that you can do this and it is possible. But it will take work because nothing worth having comes easy!
There’s an old saying I love that goes like this,
“Continue to do what you’ve always done and you’ll continue to get what you’ve always got.”
It’s true. The kind of life you are currently leading will not change unless you change. So be courageous! Do what most people will not do and begin to design the kind of life that’s important to you. You will look back in just a few months down the road and you’ll be astounded at the positive changes in your life.
Here’s How to Begin
Throughout the next few weeks I’m going to outline this very clearly for you. This will not be based on opinion, but on rock solid research about how to change your life. I’m also creating a video series right now that will be offered for free to everyone who is part of this community because I care about you and I want to help you change. For now, here are some real things you can do to help you on your way to hitting the reset button. This will help you reprogram your habits and your brain (something called neuroplasticity) and will open the door for you to change the things you want to change.
- Start Journaling about the kind of life you want – This seems simple, but it’s incredibly powerful. Go buy yourself a journal and start writing in it 5 days a week. What will you write? Write about what’s important to you. What do you want to be doing with your time? Where will you be? What will it be filled with? Love? Happiness? Generosity? Compassion? Be clear and be detailed.
- Write down 3 small wins every single night – this is incredibly important. What went well today? Where did you succeed? What is there to celebrate? Do not focus on what went wrong. Things always go wrong. This is an activity to show yourself what went right and build on that momentum.
- Wake up every morning and write down a clear plan of what you need to focus on today in order to fill your life with more purpose – What book do you need to read? What podcast will you listen to? What goal will you accomplish? What person will you seek out and have coffee with? What phone call will you make? What proposal will you send out? Don’t be overwhelmed with this step. Even (1) thing you write down and accomplish is great! This teaches you the power of knowing you can create, plan and achieve something that gets you closer to what matters to you. And you can do it every single day.
Listen, some of you just need to believe in yourself again. You are an amazing human being who is filled with purpose and can accomplish incredible things. It’s true! You have to get in touch with that again. You do not have to change locations to have the life you want but you do have to change in the areas where you are stuck! I’m believing with you and going to do everything I can to walk you through some simple steps until you begin to see your dreams come true. Onward and upward!
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Seth Barnes says
Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.
Neil Bruinsma says
Tom, this is a ready good intro post to all the work you are putting together. I have been putting into practice your tips over the last few months and I have felt a significant boast in my overall wellbeing, motivation, creativity, and energy.