There really are only two reasons people do or don’t do anything at all.
It’s going to be extremely difficult to create change and growth in your life if you don’t understand this principle. They may not tell you so, but it’s basically the blanket principal that just about every life coach or guru you’ll find stems off of. And it’s a powerful scientific fact. It’s how humans are wired.
Somewhere around 300 B.C., a philosopher named Epicurus noted and began spreading this understanding. But it was Sigmund Freud who popularized the idea in the late 1800s, and the principle became the base for most if not all personal growth recipes over the next century and a half.
At every decision point, at an instinctual level, we’re driven to do things that make us feel good (aka pleasure), and avoid things that make us feel bad (aka pain). Oftentimes the pain that we anticipate is false or very minor (only love here- our nervous systems are doing their job). But we react as if it were very real and big-even to the point of fight, flight, or freeze sometimes, and then we end up avoiding the thing we actually want to do or the change that we want to make in our life.
There’s a deeper reason for this that will be covered in a future post in this series, so stay tuned! Most habit building info does not cover it, and it’s an absolute game changer. If you’d like to sign up to have all of the posts delivered right to your inbox, opt in here!
And then there’s resistance.
Even if you haven’t heard of it directly, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about. That thing that suddenly puts on the brakes no matter how bad you want a change in your life, how far you’ve come, or how aligned you thought you were with your mission two minutes before…
Resistance is due to past pain, or a perception/anticipation that pain that will occur. This fear often has to do with childhood events and misinterpretations of all sorts of miscellaneous things that happened.
And of course, this can be very detrimental to our health and keep us from the bigger lives and impact we really want!
Some examples would be:
~Continuing to skip the workout or eat in a way you’ve realized is bringing you down, potentially risking your health. This may also affect your vitality and ability the focus and take action.
~Whatever habit you’ve been avoiding even though you want it really bad. This could include breaking a bad habit also.
Millions of people won’t take sustainability or ethical living measures because they fear the pain of being judged or causing a fuss. It’s really that simple, but this type of biased programming runs strong with a deep undercurrent, and keeps things under control a lot of the time.
Millions of people also won’t take action on their dreams for fear of failure, different types of loss, fear of the unknown, or many other kinds of pain.
There are endless examples, but you get the idea! What are your reasons you’re allowing yourself to continue down a path you don’t want?
Guess what? You can use pain and pleasure for the win!
What are your first argument points when it comes to keeping with old ways instead of creating new habits? You can use these to identify some of your pain points- and gain a lot of power right now. Consciously attach pleasure to a task you’re avoiding to make yourself more likely to do it. Even if that just means choosing to be happier or more accepting while doing the task. But better- at least think about the rewards you want the most, instead of just “accepting the moment.”
Doesn’t that sound more empowering and higher vibin’? You can actually reward yourself with positive touch, food, and thought or affirmation rewards also, but make the reward pretty immediate to train yourself on a neurological level, even if you’re having a bigger celebration later.
Here’s an exercise to try:
- Write down the things that you want in life that would be fulfilled over time for you if you got your new habit, thought, pattern, etc. in place. In other words, how would your life change for the better? Would you be helping others or the planet? Then focus there when the pain kicks in.
- Write down how you feel physically and emotionally after sticking to your new habit a couple of times. Keep a journal like this daily for big benefit. Also, take some time to really feeling too and write down the following, according to a specific habit at the top of your mind that you want to make or break.
- Think about all the types of pain you will have now and in the future if you don’t follow through. How bad does it feel to let yourself down? Don’t aggravate your fear of failure, but think about it and pinpoint the motivating factors within it. Only do this for about 30 seconds so that you stay motivated And if it makes you feel worse and triggers more avoidance, then it’s not the right way for you to learn.
- Concentrate on wants, rewards, and positive motivation. And if you did accidentally make yourself feel really terrible to the point of wallowing? Congratulations! You learned what doesn’t work, and you don’t have to continue! This gains you power immediately. You can do this!
Really give it some time and have a visceral in body experience, along with an emotional one, when you answer these questions.
When pain and pleasure aren’t working over the long term to quell your resistance and move you forward, there may be deeper issues to address and heal in order to move forward and into your dream habits and dream life!
If you’ve come this far in your habit and thought choices and you’re ready to dive deeper, check out the description for my online course, “Make or Break Any Habit or Belief You Want- While Loving and Healing Yourself” right here.
In the online course, you’ll get THREE (or more) techniques that work synergistically or on their own, to heal the underlying issues what are keeping you falling back into old habits, in that tougher resistance, and half way from your dreams. And that’s just PART…of the BONUSES!! There are also 21 lessons and deep diving, totally transformational worksheets and so much more in this 3 week personal power activation! Check out the course description here.
I’ll see ya next time!