In Part I, we discussed how our subconscious programming can keep us from achieving the goals that we say we want. In Part II, we are going to discuss what to do about it.
Access Consciousness, a mindfulness practice, has a technique for addressing thoughts as they come up. They simply ask: Who does this belong to? Oftentimes, the answer is "not me". It may be your 3rd grade teacher or your high school sweetheart or your next-door neighbor. Somehow, in your early stages of development, you absorbed that belief and assumed it as your own (in many cases without even recognizing it).
Here’s the cool part: you have the ability to change your beliefs about anything. And, when you change your beliefs, you change the way you show up in the world (your thoughts, your feelings, your actions). Your outer world is always a reflection of your inner world.
You can’t force yourself to change...but you can inspire yourself to change. How?
Motivation doesn’t last but motive (your “why” does). Combining the work of behavior change pioneers, I’ve come up with the following protocol to get anything you want:
1. Define your desire(s).
The best work I’ve seen on this topic is The Desire Map. It’s one part theory and one part workbook; it is a great guide for identifying your deepest desires.
2. Commit to your desire.
This may seem like an extraneous step, but don’t be fooled. It is not. There is a huge difference between wanting something and committing to something. Wanting is weak. Most people want to be fit or rich or happy. Few people commit to these desires. Committing means cutting off all alternatives and being willing to do whatever it takes for as long as it takes and as hard as it gets.
Oftentimes, if your desires are big enough and juicy enough, your ego will keep you from committing. What if you go after this desire wholeheartedly and you fail? Oh no, no, no, no, no. That would be bad news bears, at least according to your ego. But, that’s what it takes to go after your desires - unabashed, no holds barred, one-pointed focus and commitment.
3. Identify the gap between where you are and where you want to be.
This step is a relatively straightforward gap analysis - Where am I (point A)? Where do I want to be (point B)? What will it take to get from point A to point B?
4. Make your subconscious conscious.
Identify the beliefs and programming that are keeping you where you are. This process involves some intense excavation - journaling, inquiry, deep introspection. It is not for the faint of heart. But, it is essential. This is the step where you identify the disconnect between your conscious and subconscious mind. Go deep, muck around in there and figure out what’s really holding you back. Ask tough questions and be open to receiving unsettling answers.
5. Disassociate from beliefs that no longer serve you.
You have the power to change your beliefs. This is where you actually make that happen. Once you have identified a belief that no longer serves you, let it go. Release it like a balloon floating up, up, up into the sky. Bid it adieu.
6. Reprogram your mind.
In this final step, you plant new seeds in the garden of your mind and allow them to take root. You consciously select a new belief system that supports your desires (step #1). And then, you repeat those beliefs over and over and over again. Repetition reprograms your subconscious.
Imprinting new beliefs relies on a combination of repetition and impact (emotional content). Affirmations are especially helpful here; tapping/EFT is a similarly effective tool. Surrounding yourself with people who already possess your desires is “reprogramming by osmosis.” Consuming content that reinforces these new beliefs is also a great way to rewire your neural circuitry for success.
All in all, this process is a provocative one, but I believe it to be the missing link to achieving any goal or creating lasting change.