Changing a Habit is Like Riding an Elephant

Did you know that it takes about 21 days to change/start a habit? I’m trying to change my morning routine and thought it would be simple. Was I wrong...

When starting or breaking any habit, even a small one, we tend to tell our conscious mind we are going to for life. To which our unconscious mind tends to say “Is that right? Don't you know already I’m the one really in charge here. That is I who decides wether we will stick or not to any habit.”

So there might be a little battle going on at first... Which is not always a bad thing when you think of it. In most cases, it’s beneficial and there to ensure survival and efficiency.

Think of it as riding an elephant. Your conscious mind is yourself. Your unconscious mind is the elephant. You think you’re in control… but if the elephant you’re riding decides it won’t turn left, it simply won’t, no matter how loud you scream or how hard you pull.

“What then?” I hear you say. Well, how about trying to give your elephant peanuts in order to make it try that new path?

Here are some helpful peanuts tips:

1) Tell your elephant this try is for 21 days only – it won’t be so unwilling to cooperate if it’s for a shorter period of time than “forever”.

2) Write down your goal in a positive way – your elephant will be eager to cooperate if it sees the “benefits of” instead of “lack of”.

3) List the reasons why you’re making that change – read it often to keep motivation high (especially after the first week).

4) Plan and organize if you need to – old habits are very strong and will kick in if you don’t find substitute routines.

5) Picture and visualize yourself having succeeded – your mind doesn’t really make the difference between imagining or living the real thing.

6) Reward yourself – not only your elephant appreciates peanuts, you do too! Make up a list of self-rewards, divide your global goal into chunks and congratulate yourself every time you reach one of them.

After 21 days, new neural pathways will have formed and you will more than likely continue with your new habit. You will have seen the benefits along the way and your marvelous unconscious mind elephant will want to continue if it has been beneficial.

Now If you will excuse me, I have peanuts to attend to. Have a glorious week everyone!!



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