To Change Who You Are You Have To Change Who You Think You Are

When someone is encouraged to do something they don’t normally do, you might hear them say “This isn’t me”. Some people just aren’t that into ice skating, painting, running a business or whatever. I’m sure you can think of many things that just “aren’t you”.

However, when you try to make a positive change in your life, this same force works against you too. You may not verbalise it as “This isn’t me”, but your mind and body respond that way. It is clear that you are not performing some behaviour that is a part of you.

This force that I mentioned is your self-concept – your own set of beliefs about who you are, what you can do, and similar.

Think about the first word that pops into your mind after you say “I am…”

I am…

“… funny.”

“…caring.”

“…smart.”

… and more. Everyone is different. And everyone also has a tonne of other beliefs surrounding who they are. So when you try to make a positive change in your life, the novelty eventually wears off and your mind starts to reject what’s going on because it isn’t you.

The solution?

Start lying to yourself. Use powerful tools for the mind (like this one) to reprogram it. In fact, you may want to use “I am” type statements to tackle the self-concept part of your mind. It takes a lot of repetition and discipline, but the effects can be very powerful.

Here’s a personal example of how I used this very idea…

After not having been to the dentist for eight years and requiring a reasonable amount of work (which cost me time and money, and caused pain), I decided to look after my teeth for the rest of my life. Part of my challenge was flossing my teeth … every day.

The problem was that I hated flossing my teeth. With a passion. Ever since I was a child, I was not someone who liked flossing their teeth at all.

But I had to do it.

Apart from setting a goal about my new habit, I also knew that flossing had to be a part of my self concept. And so while I flossed, I would keep thinking to myself “This is who I am. This is just what I do now. It is neither good nor bad – I just do it.”

It took me about three months of flossing every night to overcome it. But by the end of those three months, flossing was just a regular, everyday thing that I did.

Nowadays, if I don’t floss, I start to think “This isn’t me…”

Comments

  1. This has given me hope that I can change a part of myself that needs to be changed. I’m a jealous person and too clingy, this is killing my relationship but I find my mind is screaming no don’t do it! But I have to, really and properly, so let the training begin.

    1. I guarantee you that change is possible. Don’t take my word, though – look up something like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. There is a mountain of academic research and support behind CBT, to the point where doctors (in Australia) can provide referrals with advice to use CBT because Medicare supports payments for it.

      On a personal note, I would say that if you have reached a point of despair – where you are willing to give anything new a shot because absolutely nothing that you know seems to be working – then that’s great. This will provide you strength to keep going; motivation to keep moving forward so that life is never like it used to be.

      That is my own personal motivation for why I started down this path – I never want my internal world to be like it was ever again. And I’d also like people to know that change is possible and that it can be one of the most rewarding things you can do.

      The flip side is that this can cost you different things from time to time – sometimes it’s hard, sometimes it’s scary, sometimes you’ll do the wrong things. But it’s all part of the process… just keep growing and learning and becoming an even better person than you were the day before.

      At this point, I’m reminded of a section from Rocky Balboa – hope it helps:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfXw-E7HUq8

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