Pssst. I’m going to tell you a secret. It’s a life-changing secret.
Oh, wait, I already told you!
The secret is… (drumroll please)…
“If you resist, it persists.”
What do we mean by this?
If you are struggling to get rid of a bad habit in your life – let’s say smoking, or over-eating, or watching porn. The natural approach is to say I’m going to stop doing this thing. I’m going to go on a diet, I’ve thrown away all those cigarettes, I’ve deleted all those links on my computer and installed software to block access to them.
Well, if you’ve ever been on that journey, you’ll know that this is one of the hardest, maybe even impossible, approaches to take. We may be able to stick to our intentions for a while, but most likely it only takes a couple of weeks before the justifications start coming through via our brain and we find ourselves having a bad day and before we know it we’re back to the same behaviour we swore we’d never do again.
Because if you resist, it persists.
This pattern all makes sense if you understand how your brain works. In particular, how a small but powerful part of your brain works: the Reticular Activating System. We like to call it your R.A.S.
See, the R.A.S. is there to help us focus on important information. And who decides what’s important? Well, you do!
Unfortunately, when we are focusing on stopping something (or resisting it), we are actually making that thing very important for our R.A.S. by telling ourselves over and over “I will not smoke” or “I’m not allowed to eat that,” for example. And so it starts letting through a whole lot of information for us to process about that thing we are trying to avoid. Suddenly, we are very aware of all the chocolate and chips we hid away from ourselves, or a great bargain on our favourite cigarettes. It’s like our attention is doubling down on the thing we are actually trying to ignore or forget about!
So, how do we stop it?
Well, here’s the best news…it’s so easy!
And before you go there, no we can’t cut our R.A.S. out! We need it to help us focus and get through life and keep us safe by processing the important information for us.
But, here’s the key. We need to stop thinking in negatives, and we need to start thinking in positives. We need to stop thinking about the problem, and we need to start thinking about the solution. It’s a mind shift.
You want to eliminate the words ‘NOT’ and ‘STOP’ from your thinking. Instead of telling yourself “I’m not going to eat that,” you switch it around to “I love eating healthily.” Or instead of saying, “I’m not going to smoke any more,” you need to figure out what are you going to do instead – are you going to get a stress ball? Or go for a walk with some fresh air? Or practice some breathing exercises? Instead of thinking, “I’m not going to watch those videos any more,” you want to focus on being the kind of husband or man you want to be.
It’s up to you to figure out what the solution is for your own challenge. And then, once you have the answer, put your focus on that. Talk to yourself about it and make it a vivid mental picture in your mind of what it looks like. Soon, you’ll have your R.A.S. feeding you information about apps that provide your macro-nutrients, or relaxing meditative breathing methods or even healthy marriage courses.
Our brain (R.A.S.) is our friend. By working with it the right way, we can overcome the problems we are struggling to change in our lives. You can become the healthier, fitter, more relaxed and more confident person you want to be. Just put your focus on that, and we guarantee you will see results. Real, life-changing results.
If you enjoyed this tip – why not sign up for our whole Neuroscience of Getting Unstuck course? It’s filled with so many more facts about your brain, and takes you through a whole process of change – why you are designed to get stuck in behaviours you don’t want and how to get unstuck and live the life you’ve always wanted for yourself.
We’re so confident that this course will lead to the results you want, that we even have a “REAL DEAL GUARANTEE”: If you complete the course and put all the tools and information you learn into practice in your life and you don’t see any signs of change, we promise to refund you AND offer you free coaching to help you figure out why it’s not working.
Why stay stuck now, when you know you can change it TODAY? Sign up now and commit to yourself. You won’t regret it.