It’s 2017. A New Year. And January is typically the time many of us set new goals. The idea of change, growth, or goals is always a hot topic at the beginning of each year. But, the fact of the matter is, most people do not end up getting the permanent behavior change they seek. As an Executive Coach, I am often asked how we can stick to goals after the initial enthusiasm has died down.
My answer? Story.
You see, the first thing we have to understand is that the subconscious mind is designed to keep us safe. It is NOT designed to help us be successful in business or life. Because of this motivation, the subconscious mind uses deception to steer us. Typically this is done through a “story.” A story is your mind’s rationalization of the context you are giving to a situation.
So, my goal as a coach is to first learn where you are going to derail from your goal and how you do it. I do this in the first 30 days to help build in mechanisms to prevent this from happening.
Let’s look at a simple example: January is a common month for diets, exercise programs, detoxes etc. So let’s say one of your goals is to commit to eat “clean”—no processed food, sugar, or alcohol. Just real food that was once alive. Then let’s say you are invited to a party, decide to attend, and then find yourself surrounded by bad choices. You remember reading somewhere you can have a “cheat day.” So, then and there—five days into the 30-day plan—you decide to indulge. JUST this once. Just for today.
This is a deceptive practice that I call “the slip.” Here we start to lose our ground and one exception becomes two. And to make matters worse we are not aware of how many exceptions we are making because we don’t have the time to keep a food journal…but that’s another story. So the spinning continues.
What mechanisms might prevent this “slip” from happening? One is conscious thinking. By truly being aware of the thoughts and stories we begin to spin, we can assess them for what they typically are—bull$#!@.
The key is not to allow exceptions. In order to get to the other side of permanent behavior change we need to become the person who is living and embodying our goals.
Think of it another way—to truly integrate your goals and become the person who can live in a new way, you have to consciously change your story. That means spin the stories of who you want to be in a conscious way.
Practicing this higher level of awareness will help you stick to your goals and help create the permanent behavior change you want.