A good friend of mine was a smoker for most of her adult life. Starting in her late teens, through her 20s and most of her 30s.
Until...the day she got married. On the night before her wedding, she made a snap, spontaneous decision - she just decided she didn't want to be a smoker as a wife and mother. Once she'd decided, she says, it was almost effortless. She had tried to stop many times before and couldn’t do it. This time was completely different.
She didn’t want to be a wife and mother who smoked.
She just didn’t. It didn't stack up for her. She really, really didn't to be.
(Why not is a total other story for another time).
Following her decision, she had what had been missing the many times before when she tried to quit. She had, a COMPELLING REASON.
This reason might not be compelling to you or I, but it was compelling to her and so, the act of giving up smoking was, in her words “almost effortless”.
This often happens with women who fall pregnant and suddenly can't even think about smoking because of the effect it will have on the baby, growing in their tummy. What's fascinating is, I know - you probably do too - many women who have given up when they became pregnant, but every one of them re-started again - slowly but surely, maybe just at a dinner party or maybe 'just a few a week' but all of them did, despite not wanting to (they say) - after their baby was born.
In the absence of a compelling reason, they went back to the same action they has taken before.
The 'only' thing that changed was their thoughts about smoking. But our thoughts are everything.
People tell me there’s “nothing new” in what I have to offer. They've read it before.
Writing down everything you need to do on a calendar and then following through is so unsexy.
I completely agree. It's a rare professional working Mum (or Dad!) who doesn't know the way to effective time management. But - the point is, most of them aren't doing it and that's why they're struggling. They are doing things the way they always did them (not planning even to begin with, much less honouring the plan), in the absence of a compelling reason to change the status quo, for themselves.
Today, on our bookshelves, on the 'Books' app of our iPads and iPhones, in podcasts, articles shared on social media, training received at work and in the newspapers, there is an abundance of 'how-to' information with respect to almost anything. Knowledge as to the 'how-to' or the action is readily available and very accessible.
But here is what all the 'how-to' fails to address:
Action begins with our thoughts, not simply with the knowledge.
'Oh, mindset!', people say , 'you're talking about mindset' and their eyes glaze, they lose interest.
They don't know the power of their minds. I get it, I didn't either. And once I did, I couldn't stop talking about it to anyone I met.
Mindset is not a new age thing, an office gimmick, an on trend work consideration. It is everything.
In fact, once our thoughts are aligned to what it is we really want in a way that is compelling to you, the action is completely clear. My clients know this. Once they clean up their brain chatter, they know exactly what to do, coming from clear, crisp, precise thinking.
In order to change lifetime habits, we have to really want to change because, left to their own devices, our brains love routine, habit and they will run those programmed default patterns on a loop unless we have 're-programmed' new thoughts into our minds which override the old ones. They will accept a cigarette at a friend's dinner party after 18 months of not having smoked, just because they were offered it because that's what they did at so many dinner parties throughout their adult lives.
Having a compelling reason makes it SO much easier to start the process of change.
What is it that you want?
More time for yourself / more time with your kids / you’re sick to death of yourself for promising every day to change up the way you do it but never following through?
You want to feel really delighted with how you're showing up in the world?
You want to make yourself proud and stop playing small?
That’s what you need to have as your driving force when you plan out your day. That’s the thought you need to access when you feel yourself getting drawn into some coffee machine gossip shenanigans, when you feel yourself right on the edge of procrastinating on that most boring of tasks which you would really love to have out of the way but just can't face, when you're just about to speak up in a meeting but silence yourself with brain chatter about what they'll think and why you shouldn't say it...
What's your compelling reason?
Your desire to realise that reality will need to be stronger than your desire to do things the way you've always done them in order for you to take the action all the way through until you achieve your result, and maintain that result.