Behavior Change in 5 Chapters

There are rare occasions where we are able to change a behaviour “cold turkey”, overnight.  Bang, quantum leap, paradigm shift, DONE.  More typically, it is practise of a new storyline that makes progress.  Changing your game requires an increase in capacity, a persistent skill building, which eventually has a tipping point into the new behavior.

Use this lovely “Autobiography is 5 Short Chapters” by Portia Nelson to plot out the demise of a behaviour you no longer wish to engage in.  Get out a pen and paper and Write the New Story as you dis-illusion the old way.  Once written, actively visualize each step many times.  This imaginal work begins the separation from the automatic, the mindless habit and allows your neural network to create new pathways.  This rehearsal of desired behaviour is used by athletes and entrepreneurs as a regular part of their training regime.  Mentally walking your way through to a desired outcome floods your system with happy hormones, which further reinforce the development of a new neurological narrative.

It is very difficult to let a crutch or defence behaviour go without having a beneficial alternative to step into.  Your powerful imagination and ability to “see into” new outcomes is a necessary component of success. But you must really concentrate to bring the new picture into crisp focus.  This allows the dis-solution of the old and lights up your brain for the new.

So lets walk through a hypothetical scenario, writing new chapters in our life story .

  1. You come home after a hard day and walk straight to the freezer, pulling out the tub of Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked.  You eat it all, straight from the container, standing in the kitchen.
  2. You come home…..You walk to the freezer and pull out the B and J and put half of it in a bowl.  You sit on your deck and smell the aromatic flowers.  You enjoy your ice-cream as the sounds of birdsong fill your ears
  3. You come home….You walk to the bathroom and freshen up, drink a glass of water.  You make your way to the fridge and pull out small portion of smoothie, made that morning from whole fat yogurt and fresh blueberries.  You begin making your dinner salad, sipping the smoothie.
  4. You come home…..You freshen up.  You put on some music and stretch for a moment, breathing deeply and releasing the day.  You make a wholesome dinner.
  5. You come home…..change into your gym clothes, and have a great workout with a friend before going to dinner together.

Now that you’ve written your new script out, your can live into it, one week at a time.