Can I Change? Probably we all have wanted to change something about ourselves at some point during our lives. But changing is not as simple as just wanting to do so. Our actions are part of our habits and therefore they are a big element of our identity. As humans we have been programmed to continue with certain habits even when they do not make us happy. Essentially, we are working from a place of doing instead of using the formula BE-DO-HAVE to achieve the goals we have set for ourselves. To change we need to shift from a place of doing to a place of being.
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Is the old adage, “a tiger can’t change its stripes,” actually true? Can a person ever truly change who they are? Do people change or just evolve? Why do we feel the necessity of changing? And more importantly can I change???
Have you ever tried to change something about yourself or your life and made some progress, but then something happened and you ended up being the same person and doing the same things that you have always done? The good news is that you’re not alone.
What actually is change?
Change is an arbitrary human construct. It is something that humans have created to feel good (or bad) about themselves. Are you thinking: Wait a moment! Hold the phones. What do you mean that change doesn’t exist? I have seen changes in people, in nature, in my own life, and more importantly if change doesn’t exist what am I even doing reading this blog?
Can I change or not? Well, it really depends on how you define change. While it is true that life is impermanent and we never live the same moment twice, we need to be careful how we define change and its meaning to us.
The idea of change creates an exciting promise of being better. How many people make New Year’s resolutions to feel good that they are going to (finally) change this year? They are finally going to lose fifteen pounds. They are finally going to quit smoking. This is the year that they run the Boston marathon.
What happens when we don’t accomplish our beloved changes? We feel bad and we tend to let ourselves down in some way. We fill our minds with thoughts like, “I just can never stick to anything.” “It’s just too hard to change.” “I don’t have the right genetics to run a marathon.” “I’m smart but not that smart.” “I didn’t stick to it because I wasn’t passionate about it, but when I find my true calling it’s going to be totally different”.
These subsequent thoughts that we create when we don’t meet our own personal definition of change creates disillusion and disappointment in ourselves and as a result it emerges the question…Can I change? You are capable, and it doesn’t have to be so hard.
Why changing seems so darn hard?
The problem with the idea of “changing” is that it involves our identity and shakes the core of who we are and who we have been programmed to be. Our lives are long sequences of actions and decisions. Basically, everything we actually do in life is a habit. And everything that we aren’t or don’t have is also a habit. So, if we really want to change, we need to master our habits.
Shakes the core of who we are? Yikes. Right? A lot of people (not us since we have decided to read this blog) are going about their lives on auto pilot, doing the same thing day in and day out, and never stop to really think, who am I? nor Can I change who I am?
Our identity is who we are. It is how we behave every day and the actions that we do every day. Change always starts at changing our way of being. Most of us who are looking to change actually mean that we would like to make better decisions and actions on a day-to-day basis. So let’s do it!
Change your habits
The reason why most of us continue with habits that aren’t actually making our lives better is because we’ve been programmed this way. Think about it. If you eat meat every day, ask yourself when that habit became a part of what you do. Most likely, in childhood. It applies to so many other of our daily habits. If we smoke or not, if we drink coffee or not, if we work out or not,… all these habits define who we are and it’s more than possible that they have been with us for a very long time.
So, if we want to change, we need to make shifts and carry them out daily. It is all about making small and continuous improvements on a daily basis. It is the way of Kaizen. Nothing will change unless you make a daily change. So, commit to improving yourself a little bit every day and changing your habits daily.
Sounds simple enough, right? But then how come most people don’t follow through with their New Year’s resolutions? Why does it all seem easy in theory, but then the follow through never happens? I used to always wonder why so many people cannot stop certain habits (addictions) to the point of dying because of them. Society has labeled that as weakness, but the problem is much more complex than that.
It took a lot of research and study to be able to understand what was really happening. The answer? You are working from a place of doing.
The be-do-have change formula.
The Be, Do, Have (aka B-D-H) formula is a powerful framework that can create lasting changes. The philosophy of BE-DO-HAVE refers to a mind shift that has to occur in order for us to live the life of our dreams.
For example, going back to New Year’s resolutions. Most of them stem from a set of conditions. “When I lose the 15 pounds, I will feel good about myself” or ‘When I do the Boston Marathon, I will feel accomplished.” These conditional types of happiness aren’t sustainable and all of these resolutions are just situations of contingency. “If X happens, I will be Y”
Differently, the BE-DO-HAVE philosophy starts with who you are. “On the basis of who I want to be, I do the things I need to do, and the result is that I have what I want.”
So you want to change and lose fifteen pounds? Who do you need to be to lose 15 pounds? What kind of person loses weight? Can I change that part of me? What must you believe about yourself? What must be your relationship with food? If you can be this kind of person, then you can have the same results as them.
Stop falling back into your old patterns
Most of us have been programmed to come from a place of doing. We think when I work more, I will have more, and then I will be happy. The problem with this programming is that we are defined by what we do and not by who we are.
When we are constantly doing, we keep doing even more and become even busier and even more tired. It is the very reason why so many people today experience burn out, or are taking anti-anxiety medication, or intaking way more caffeine than is recommended for the human body. We have all heard that money doesn’t buy us happiness or that having more things won’t make us feel more complete on the inside. So how can I change if I doing the same things on and on?
We have been indoctrinated to do. But if we want to change, we need to come from a place of being.
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