.everyone knows what to do – they just don’t do what they know.
I find it very interesting to read peoples behavior, why do certain people say one thing and do another (myself included “sometimes” ;)? What is it that makes us go against what we actually want, and how can we be aware of it and therefor also change it? I find a lot of inspiration from Peter Sage, he is a well-known international serial entrepreneur with over twenty years of experience in growing fast-paced enterprises but he is also an expert in human behaviour and motivation. I listened to one of his interviews with the “London Real” and I was so inspired by him, and the most interesting thing is that without being aware of it, I seem to already think in the ways that he suggests (or at least I’m aware of why I don’t do it). A lot to thank my mother and dad for I suppose.
You can say that there is 3 levels of awareness/understanding. And through these levels you can actually see and tell why people do things and don’t do things – why people know what they should do it but they don’t do it. Lets use the example of stop smoking. (Peter Sage did and it really made me understand although I’m not a smoker myself.)
⇒ “Everyone knows what to do – they just don’t do what they know”. Everyone knows that it’s dangerous to smoke, it even says on the package. It’s an intellectual awareness, but it doesn’t mean anything. I can read the warning sings at the package but I’m still gonna take out a cigarette and smoke it if I’m a smoker. The same with how to loose weight, everyone knows how it works, it’s not rocket since. But then people eat PLUS & BIG SIZE MEALS anyway. So our intellectual understanding doesn’t change anything in order to make a change. To change the behavior you have to move to the next level.
⇒ Lets say, you are a smoker, all of a sudden you get a terrible headache so you go to the doctor to check it out. They run some tests and the doctor tells you “One more cigarette and you will have a stroke”. Now it becomes real. You throw your cigarette away. You go from “intellectual understanding” knowing the same things – you haven’t become any more intelligent – it’s the same information but you now have an “emotional understanding”. The penny drops. It’s an emotional shift. It will change your behavior… but it wont last! It wont get you to consistently change your behavior, to have a constant shift. For that you need the next level.
“The strongest force in the human personality is the need to remain consistent with how you define yourself” – Tony Robbins.
⇒ In other words, your identity. Why don’t vegetarians eat meat, is it because they have different teeth? Not very likely, it’s because their identity is “I am a vegetarian.” Why do runners run, why do they feel weird when they don’t run for a while? They have basically have the same body like you have. It’s because their identity is “I am a runner.” We all have different identities. I’m the artist, the daughter, the friend, the aunt, the fitness girl and so on.
But unless you have a shift in identity at that level you’re not gonna change your behavior long-term. Because we’re always acting in accordance with how we think we should be as suppose to out identity. If you’re a smoker who’s quit – you’re likely to start up again cause you shifted your identity to “a smoker that quit”. So if I offer you a cigarette you’re gonna say “I quit, I’m a smoker but I quit.” So you’re engaging will power. The challenge with will power is that that it always has a time limit. It can help in the moment and I can have all the power I got, but on tuesday or next month it’s probably not there anymore. Because it has a time limit. So by saying that you’re a smoker who quit, you are creating the feeling that it’s hard for you to say no.
If you instead would change your identity to a “non-smoker” and I ask you if you want a cigarette it’s effortless, cause you’re not a smoker. Instead of “Oh, I quit so therefor I’m struggling.”
.choose your identity and have the understanding that you can choose.
The difference between being somebody healthy or being an athlete. This will create two completely different ways of working out when you go to the gym. You wanna be the best of something verses being good in something. That creates a different sense of identity around that. So look at who you are right now and how your behavior is connected to these identities. If you have been trying to change your behavior in the past and without being successful, then it’s because you haven’t shifted your identity.
You know what to do – sometimes you can get so frustrated and you feel so motivated to do it, but it doesn’t last. (Yo-Yo effect with certain diets for example). And it’s because you haven’t made that identity shift – the shifting of who you are.
.commitment is doing the thing you said you’ll do long after the mood you said it in left you. – Gregory Salaky
.set yourself up to win.
Studies showed that you’re more likely to succeed if you can “set yourself up” to make it. For example; you want to get in shape for the BEACH 2016. So you promised yourself to go to the gym everyday in the morning. If your workout clothes and “gym-kit” is further away than 20 seconds you probably wont do it. But if you prepare everything the day before so everything is easy to reach, you get out of bed, put on the clothes grab the bag – then you’re setting yourself up to win.
So if you’re in the mood to do something, while you’re in that mood try to set yourself up to win for those times when that mood is gone. Throw out the bad food, prepare the healthy breakfast, get rid of those cigarettes or whatever it can be. This itself will never make the REAL change, but at least you will help yourself on the way.