Change your habits, change your future

Creatures of habits as we are, we love to dwell in the past and often feel that that defines us. We couldn’t be more wrong.

Photo by Hadija Saidi on Unsplash

A study showed we have around 6,000 conscious thoughts a day (‘thought worms’ as the researchers call it).

“I feel a bit under the weather, do I have corona? Would I end up at the ICU? Could it really kill me?”

“Damn, it’s cold. Why don’t I live in a place where it’s warmer? The Caribbean or something… that would be nice. Damn cold weather.”

“I wonder what Jane thinks of me when I tell her I bought these new shoes. She’s probably saying she likes them and telling Carol I have no taste. What a bitch.”

You know, the important stuff…

Hopefully, you also have some uplifting thoughts, like:

“I look good today in that new dress shirt!”

Or: “There, booked. Spain, here I come. I love it when I can just go on a short vacation and have the freedom to do so.”

Chances are though, most of your conscious thoughts aren’t all that positive. Because our mind is generally speaking more focused towards the negative. And it should, because the only task of the brain is to keep you alive, so it’s programmed to look for potential danger.

That is if you keep running it on autopilot.

The autopilot is turned on by the subconscious mind. You don’t actively decide to think something, therefore we call that the subconscious mind. And that’s where most things happen.

Once we have repeated a thought worm long enough, it becomes a habitual thought, and it kind of just happens.

The worries you have, the reminder of that pain in your left shoulder, the decision to scroll your social media feed, etc.

Most thoughts we have are habitual thoughts.

The total number of thoughts we have in a day has never been scientifically been discovered, although numbers between 20,000 up to 80,000 spread over the internet. And that’s all right, it doesn’t really say anything. Important though is, that all our neurological pathways make us think and feel. If indeed we have around 6,000 active thoughts, it means that most of the thoughts we have, has its source from our (habitual) subconscious mind.

And our thoughts (and feelings accordingly), determine our actions.

So the results we see every day, are the results of these actions.

That means, if we don’t like these results, and want different ones, we should change these habitual thoughts and feelings.

So, change your habits, to change your results.

But how on earth do we do that, if most of these thoughts are happening without us even noticing them?

Well, that’s exactly the first step to take. Start noticing them.

By creating awareness, and then reverse engineering it, using our senses and something called ‘anchoring’.

An anchor is a trigger that leads to a combination, a train of events. One good example is our taste. If we see food, our brain triggers hormones that will increase our saliva. You are preparing yourself for eating the food. And that anchor is so strong, that even the thought of food alone, can do that.

Let’s do a little thought experiment: Think of a lemon. See yourself in the kitchen, cutting the lemon in half, picking up one half, and taking a huge bite out of it.

What just happened? Did you notice the increase of saliva in your mouth?

That’s the result of an anchor.

When we become aware we have these anchors then we can redesign the train of events following the anchor.

Let me give you an example.

Every morning when I drove to work, there was, at some point in the road, a hole in the road. Not being fully awake, I always forgot where that was, and a big KADUNK of my wheel hitting that hole in the road. Every morning. Only then realizing again there was that hole again.

So I decided to put an anchor on the event ‘do not hit the hole’.

Photo by Taha on Unsplash

The next day, it happened again, and I quickly realized I needed an anchor. I saw that about 50 meters behind the hole in the road, there was a parking sign, next to the road. So I actively started thinking: “When I see that parking sign, I know there’s a hole in the road.” and repeated that over and over again for about 5 minutes.

The next day, I saw the parking sign and steered around the hole.

Up till today, when I see that parking sign at that road, I think of that hole (that has been fixed for years now). It’s the power of an anchor.

You can use this same technique to reprogram any anchor.

How to reprogram an anchor

Let’s say you want to cut on the amount of sugar you eat since there are a lot of health benefits to that. Sugar or sweet food has anchors all over the place. The nice taste, the way it makes you feel in the moment, and all kinds of biological processes that keep the train of events alive.

So we want to reprogram that anchor.

What if you would connect sugar with poison? Would you eat poison?

Hopefully not. Because instant death will probably occur. Now, from the health perspective, isn’t sugar doing the same thing, in the long run? If you agree with that idea, why not connect the term ‘poison’ to sugar?

So next time you are in the store looking at the cookies, say to yourself: “These cookies are like poison to my body.” And keep repeating that for as long as you can see the cookies. Or candy. Or the Pain du Chocolat. Or even the bottle of ketchup (which contains also a lot of sugar).

By doing that for a week, I guarantee you that you will not buy those cookies anymore.

You’ve reprogrammed your habitual thought from “I want it, it’s not that bad” to “That will kill me, I’m not eating that.”

Now, it does take time to really make this into a belief system. Old patterns don’t die easily. So if you don’t keep reprogramming yourself, the old habit will return.

Studies showed that these habit changes take about 66 days on average. For some more, for some less. But to really build it as a full habit that comes from the whole body, it may take up to a full year before it has overruled any other old habit. So, know it might take a while, and don’t be discouraged if it’s not working after 2 weeks.

Habits, beliefs, action and results

Habits come from our past actions, which we kept repeating. Actions that came from the way we think.

Habitual thoughts are called ‘beliefs’. Thoughts you have been repeatedly thinking, and therefore have become true to you.

A belief is what you think is true.

It’s not a matter of the truth, because for you it is. We have thousands of beliefs. Of whom we think we are, what we’re good at or not, our religion, how we feel about money, our job, our love life, what healthy food is, what you like or love, your whole life is built on beliefs.

And those beliefs come from our experiences, what people tell us (parents, friends, society), and the thoughts that we connect to them. An experience will be added with older beliefs we already had, and add it up to a new belief, based on the experience. Makes sense, right?

So if you agree with all this (which is also a belief funny enough), then you can also imagine that when we change a belief, we will change our habits, so we will change our actions, and therefore our results.

We’ve seen that in our subconscious mind, most things are running on autopilot. We’ve programmed it that way for the most part.

The beauty is that our subconscious mind just has to accept the (conscious) thoughts we’re putting in there. It has to, it’s how it’s learning.

And it doesn’t care what kind of thoughts they are. Positive or negative, it will accept them all.

If we only feed it with our past experiences, our results we had in that past, it will always keep chasing the rabbit and be totally reactive to the circumstances. You can’t get in front of the game.

Change the predicted future

What would happen if we start feeding the subconscious mind with what we would want to happen? If we feed it, with the same intent as our experiences, where we’ve truly lived it and felt it, then that subconscious mind also has to accept it as being true and part of a new belief. A new habit. A new anchor.

As we’ve seen with the example of the cut-in-half-lemon, our subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between if it is real or just a thought. It will fires the same hormones, create the same feelings as if it is real.

So when you imagine what you want to have, or experience, or create in your future, and see it, feel it and believe it as if it is happening right now, you are actively changing your subconscious mind.

And that works for any belief you have, for any result you currently experience. Your love life, your career, the amount of money you make, losing weight, literally everything.

It is like you are reprogramming the matrix, as Neo is doing in the movies.

Hacking your own matrix. Your own subconscious mind has created your reality, your world, based on your habits and beliefs.

So change your habits, both the actions and your thoughts, and you can change your future.

Do you take the red pill?

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Maurice Zondag

Maurice Zondag

I help men create their desired life as a certified Life Success Coach and LoA Coach. I love sharing ideas on how you can improve your life. Follow me for more