I recently saw one of those inspirational message posters on Facebook that read, “The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you DO.” Enter the “iceberg” of resistance! It is a perfect image of my resistance to my own best interests. The ‘ice-cap’ is what I say I want to do: lose weight; stop biting my nails; write that business plan. The mountain of ice beneath the surface represents my underlying conversations, and attending behaviors that STOP me before I can ever get started. Steak is a luxury for me; my fingernails are between my teeth before I know it; the business plan is calling but the desk needs dusting.
Here’s a 5-step process that I use to turn the paradigm of my resistance on its head. Maybe it will help you, too.
1) Identify your internal conversations and the behaviors they produce
- Focus on the behaviors you want to change or introduce, working with one behavior at a time.
- What is it that you do INSTEAD of what you want to stop or start doing? List all of the reasons you give yourself for doing what you do or don’t do that runs counter to what you want.
Example: I always run out of time when it comes to making business prospecting calls. I never seem to have enough space in my day to make those calls made! Everything gets in the way. In-coming ‘friend’ calls. De-cluttering my space. Email!!!
2) Identify the Payoff from keeping these behaviors
- Look again at your list of actions that oppose what you say you want. What are you getting from those actions? How do they satisfy your basic needs and wants?
- How do these actions make you who you are?
Example: I’m gaining the spontaneity of the moment! I’m getting “other things” done. Staying connected with others – by phone or email, or networking gatherings, is important. I hate doing filing, so when the urge hits, I need to take advantage. My friends count on me for a great conversation.
3) Identify the Costs created by these “payoffs” – what are you losing?
- List all the ways that you are “losing” by continuing to do what you are doing (or are NOT doing), that you say you want to change.
- Do some journaling about how this loss makes you feel.
Example: By NOT making those prospecting calls, I lose: my ability to create a successful enterprise; offer substantive leadership to my team; and minimize the opportunity to have my vision materialized. The possibility of losing these things makes me fearful of reaching the end of my life with a truckload of regrets.
4) Identify Alternative Conversations and behaviors, and their Potential Payoffs
- Focus on the desired behavior – something you need to start or stop doing. List all the reasons why this new behavior will make your life better, or make you feel great about yourself.
- What will happen if you DON’T incorporate this new behavior? What will you lose?
Example: By making my phone calls, I learn new skills, build a stronger team, earn more money; get closer to generating my vision, and reaching my goals. In doing these things, I’ll feel accomplished; like a Winner. If I DON’T do these things, I lose my self-respect; I’d be a huge disappointment to myself and others.
5) Identify Incentives to support the new conversations and behaviors
- Compare your loss(es) in Step #3 to your loss(es) in Step #4.
- Which losses will cause you the greatest amount of pain? Specify the ways in which one set of pains is greater than the other.
- Create a conversation for yourself about why you’re choosing to avoid the harshest degree of pain.
- What incentives can you design for yourself that will support you in avoiding the harshest pain?
Example: So … do I want to a) lose success, or b) lose self-respect? Loss of self-respect is more difficult for me. My incentive: I’ll use a beautiful, hour-glass timer, with a post-it note on it that reads: “Here-in lies my Self-Respect! Honor this Hour!”
Let me know how these steps work for you!