By some estimates, 90% of our actions are unconscious.
When I hear people talk about the difficulty of “creating habits” I always laugh. We create habits with ease. It doesn’t take 21 days or even 30 days.
Think about this: how long did it take you to develop the habit of scrolling your phone constantly? Or picking it up every time you get bored?
You probably don’t even remember. It was that quick.
Do something in the same way a few times and you’ll have created a habit.
Most of our actions are habitual. Unless and until we begin the work of undoing our habitual behavior.
It’s much harder to break a habit than to create a habit.
That’s because underlying our habitual actions is a framework of embedded thoughts and emotions driven by assumptions, attitudes, and beliefs.
Your assumptions and attitudes lead to beliefs.
Beliefs charge emotions.
Emotions drive actions and behavior.
Actions drive results.
Results reinform and reinforce attitudes and assumptions.
Rinse and repeat.
Changing your behavior starts with changing the emotions driving your behavior.
To change the emotions you must first identify the emotions.
Which means you must identify the assumptions, attitudes, and beliefs that drive and charge your emotions.
Assumptions, attitudes, and beliefs are also habits.
A fish doesn’t know it’s swimming in water.
We are fish. We don’t even realize the water we swim in.
Most of our thoughts, assumptions, attitudes, and beliefs are inherited and absorbed from family, friends, local community, the larger culture.
Television. Music. Movies. Social media. News.
The people you overhear at the local diner or at the gym.
If you listen to children talk to each other you will hear a reflection of the attitudes, assumptions, and beliefs they have absorbed from the people around them.
Who or what is good. Who or what is bad. What things mean.
Fast forward decades. That’s you. Now those assumptions, attitudes, and beliefs are so embedded you forgot that you once didn’t have them. They are a part of you.
They are a part of your identity.
They don’t have to be.
The work of personal development and growth, the work of behavior change and habit change, is the work of undoing.
To change your behavior, you must change emotions, which requires changing thoughts, assumptions, attitudes, beliefs, and meaning.
This starts with awareness.
You can’t change what you can’t see.
I call this the ABC’s of change:
Awareness Before Change.
If you’re not aware of what drives your actions and behavior, then you’ll continue to swim in the same water.
The water of unconscious actions and habits.
The water where your actions and behavior are influenced and manipulated by everything you hear and absorb.
New awareness creates the space and freedom for new thoughts, new emotions, new actions and behaviors, new beliefs, and new results.
Are you ready to swim in a different ocean?