A Powerful Tool For Creating Winning Habits

Most of my ADD clients, and some of my non-ADD clients, complain about their stubborn, hard-to-change habits.  They’re disorganized.  They don’t manage their time well.  They procrastinate.  They don’t set priorities so that the most important things get done on time.  They’ve tried to change these bad habits into good habits through force-of-will, but their will has failed.

Willpower alone usually doesn’t cut it.  The reason it doesn’t is that 95% of our behavior is controlled by programs running in the subconscious mind.  When you use willpower to work against the subconscious mind, you are working against a mighty, powerful force.  No wonder you lose.

Fortunately, there is a way to talk to the subconscious in a language it understands.  The subconscious thinks in images, and you can talk to it by deliberately creating images in your mind.  The subconscious is more receptive when you are alone, away from distractions, and very relaxed.

For example, let’s consider the procrastination habit.  If you’ve been in the habit of procrastinating for a long time, you think of yourself as a “procrastinator.”  Maybe you even berate yourself in your mind or out loud for this habit that creates problems in your life.  Maybe you even talk about it to other people.  Stop focusing on behavior that you don’t want and do what I describe below instead.

Close your eyes.  Get quiet.  Get comfortable, but not so much that you fall asleep.   Relax your body parts, one by one, until you have released all tension.  Recall a time when you were pleased with yourself and feel grateful for that.  The gratitude will put you in a pleasant frame of mind.  Now recall a situation in which you typically procrastinate.  Imagine it, using as many of your senses as possible (sight, hearing, taste, smell, feeling), like you are experiencing it in a movie theater only the screen and the speakers are in your mind.  Now change the picture to black and white and let it slowly fade into the distance until it’s completely gone.

Recall the same situation again, but imagine yourself behaving the way you want to behave.   Imagine it so vividly that it seems real, bringing in as many senses as you can.  Now, what will make this work is adding emotion.  I can’t overemphasize the importance of the emotion.  Feel the way you would feel if the task were already completed, with time to spare, and crossed off the list.  What is the feeling?  Relief?  Happiness?  Joy?  Enjoy the feeling.  Be grateful that you are now procrastination-free.

You might be wondering how you will fit this into an already “stuffed” schedule.   Not to worry.  You can complete this exercise in a few minutes; however, you may need to repeat it multiple times because you are actually building a new pathway of connections in your brain.  Each time you do it, the connections become stronger.  To strengthen the connection even more, take a micro step on the task you’ve been postponing.  Do make it a micro step to avoid setting off a revolt.

Now, let go and hold the expectation that you are well on your way to being procrastination-free.

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Have a weekend filled with wonder!