Every body tells us what I need to stop doing, or limit, or avoid. And the more they tell us, the more it’s in the forefront of our minds, and the more we want it.
Did it ever happen to you? You weren’t even think about ice cream until someone started to tell you how it’s bad for you and you shouldn’t eat it, and now all you want to do is gulp down a bowl of ice cream. So that someone made you focus on ice cream, and now it’s in your head.
Because what we focus on becomes important. And the more thoughts our brains produce about ice cream, the more we are going to want it. You may be telling yourself, “I shouldn’t have any ice cream, no matter how much I want it,” but your brain only hears the word “ice cream.” And science has shown that what we think about will manifest into our actions. So if you really want to avoid ice cream, you better get it off your mind, because whatever you feed grows, and whatever you starve dies. It’s pretty much all there is to it…
So, instead of telling yourself that you should not have any ice cream, you would be better off starting to list what it is that you do want. And what you really want is to be able to have a few spoonfuls of ice cream without devouring the whole container. What you really want is to feel in control of what goes into your mouth, and not let it control you. What you really want is to have three spoonfuls of ice cream and then put the container away. Well, at least, that is what I really want…
oal-focused thoughts feed the action we are trying to achieve. By not giving thought-fuel to the behaviors we are desperately seeking to change, we can actually thought-focus our approach to the behaviors we are seeking to grow into.
It sounds simplistic, but it is true. Because behavior change does not come from knowing what to do. It comes from you figuring out a way that you are willing to do it.
Here is a simple 1,2,3 technique to begin making it happen:
- Target a behavior you are trying to change and write it down. Rephrase it into what goal you are trying to achieve. So “I don’t want to be eat like a pig'” turns into “I want to eat only two spoonfuls of ice cream and then put the container away. .”
Now you have a positive target to shoot for. It is no longer a vague hope, with no plan for achievement.
- Now consider: (1) how important is this goal to you and why do you want to achieve it? (2) What is motivating this goal and how can you increase your motivation to achieve it?
From this stage you are ready to develop three positive-action steps to achieve this goal.
1. I am going to buy ice cream in smaller container.
2. I am going to sit down every time I eat ice cream, and I am going to enjoy every ounce of my three tablespoons.”
3. “I am going to only put three tablespoons in my bowl and put the rest of the ice cream away.”
This approach works with how our minds process the thoughts we think about. Now we have shifted the focus away from what we don’t want, and we have begun to better define what it is that we do want. The brain is now focused on helping us bring those thoughts into our lives.