We are a couple of weeks into a New Year, and so many resolutions will be broken, like a record, or forgotten like the promises you made in Kindergarten.
To change your ‘Self’, you must understand the forces that bind you to your present behaviors or propel you to success.
Without going too deep into the research, you are not one person but two. Just as you have two brain hemispheres, you have two aspects of Self. You have an ‘Experiencing Self’ and a ‘Narrative Self’ and these two selves have different interests. These different interests explain why resolutions fail, and why we need to apply Self-leadership if we are going to be successful.
Your experiencing self is in the moment, paying attention to the pain or pleasure you are experiencing. Your narrative self, makes up stories about what happened and pays particular attention to the peak experience and the last experience of the event.
All the major decisions in your life are made by your Narrative Self, but you often undo or derail these decisions with your Experiential Self. If you want to increase your Self-leadership and Success for 2018, you are going to have to increase your self-awareness of the narratives you tell yourself, and get on good terms with your Experiential Self.
In my 2016 book on Self Leadership – 12 Powerful Mindsets & Method to Win in Life & Business, the first of the methods is ‘Change your Narrative’ and this is Hack #1.
Hack #1: Change Your Narrative
Your narrative, or inner dialogue, is like the brain’s programming language. You can be programming yourself for success or failure with phrases such as, “You can do it” or “It’s all too hard”. Now catching your narrative is the tricky bit, because we are always talking to ourselves but don’t always take notice. Keeping a journal with you and writing down what you hear yourself saying to your Self is really powerful. It’s especially useful when you are facing a challenging situation, like giving a speech.
Over Christmas, whilst on holiday in Brazil, I was given the opportunity to para-glide, I hadn’t done this before and it sounded both scary and exciting. It was a long drive to the take-off point, on the side of a big hill, and so I had lots of time to notice my thoughts, as well as my feelings. It was like tuning into a radio station. I could hear myself saying, “this is scary” and I could feel the butterflies in my stomach. I could also hear myself saying, “what a great opportunity” and feel the excitement.
After some consideration, I chose my narrative. I chose to use this experience to face my fear. You can watch the video of what happened next on selfleadership.tv.
Hack #2: Say “No” to the Impulse
Hack #2 also required the Self-awareness to know when our experiential self wants to hijack us. Our experiential self is always trying to reduce pain and maximize pleasure. For example, you have set your intention to lose weight, you feel less full than normal, your experiential self wants the full feeling and instructs you to eat, what do you do?
You use your Self-leadership power of decision. A decision is when you say a definitive “NO” to one thing, and “Yes” to the thing you want. Successful people are, without a doubt, decisive.
Make this year, the year you strengthen your, “NO!” – say “NO” to immediate gratification that is contrary to your goal, and say “NO!” to negative internal dialogue and internal discounting (read more on this here). With a strong, “NO” you create space to say “Yes” to the things you want in your life.
Hack #3: Create Cues for Success
We live in an age of constant distraction, adverts, social media, emails, work requests, and so it can be hard to stay focused. But just as distractions are triggers or cues that can take our mind off mission, we can use cues to bring make sure we do what’s necessary for success. Simple cues include; a list you prepared (the night before) of things you are going to accomplish today, set alarms on your phone to remind you to do things like, taking deep relaxing breaths, exercising, or making an important call.
Remember you have a choice in life, to be the driver or the passenger. You have an amazing brain, learn to use it to ensure you are successful.