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Big Things From Little Changes or How to Have a True “Identity Shift”

Why is it so hard to make big changes in our lives? We all seem to want things to be different than they are. We’d like to lose weight, make more money, be more organized, eat better. In this talk I point out a couple of ways to help bring lasting change.

One of the ideas many people hold is that we change once. People often feel we’ll make one large switch, and then things will be different. I’ll go on a diet for a little while and THEN I’ll be the way I want. I’ll learn a new investment technique and THEN I’ll be wealthy. I’ll clean my whole house and THEN I’ll be organized. But in reality those changes rarely stick. To make changes stick we need at least two understandings.

First we need to realize that it is not one big change. It is a commitment to little choices over time that affect our lives in the long run. It’s not one diet, it’s choosing different foods over and over again. It’s not working out for two months for beach season, it’s committing to being healthy and fit going forward. And while these things may sound big and difficult, they are actually only done right now, and in small ways. Big change comes from little choices over time, not one big switch.

The other understanding we can use to make big change is to align our values with our goals. A diet is something we do temporarily. It isn’t who we want to be long term. Instead, learn to think of yourself as a healthy person, or even better, an athlete. Once you change your mindset like that, supporting that idea of yourself makes all your food choices easy. It becomes a way of life rather than a temporary fix. Rather than seeing yourself as a disorganized person who needs to be organized. See yourself as a deeply organized person. Instead of seeing yourself as a month to month pay-check person, see yourself as an investor.

By aligning our values with our goals, and realizing that it’s little changes instead of one big switch, we can make massive change in our lives, and those changes can last. These little changes lead to a total, transformative “Identity Shift.”

Song: The Changeling by The Doors

How Committed Are You?

Making any kind of change is very difficult when we aren’t truly committed to it. So what is commitment and how do we find it?

I see people use meditation and become spiritual all the time to feel better when they are sad. But they often drop the practice once things get better. Finding commitment is hard to do, but we don’t want to get caught in the common loop of: being in pain, working to escape it, forgetting we were in pain. We can’t really escape pain fully until we learn to stay committed to change through all seasons.

Can you practice stillness when the world is good too? Can you “sacrifice” to try to stay awake at all times? This is not meant to imply that being awake isn’t fun. It’s only meant to show that commitment is necessary for lasting change.

How can we stay committed? We can use anchors. We can surround ourselves with books and podcasts and ideas that support our goals. We can commit to practicing meditation. But what is the thing underneath? It might just be our pain itself. Finding your reason to stay committed is really important. What happened to you that got you started down this road? What pain happened to you? Make a point of holding on to that.

People often mention that we can’t change other people. I disagree. We are all connected and intertwined. A change from you affects me. So if there is learning, if there is change, then we can point to something. We can find the “ah ha!” we can turn on a light switch for people.

In this talk, the light switch is the idea that being committed makes change easy. Finding commitment can be hard, but once we find it quitting smoking, eating differently, losing weight, meditation, all become simple. So what’s your reason to stay committed? Make that an “ah ha!” for you. Create new grooves of thought. Be awake to your pain. Change.

Mindfulness Awareness Disconnect

Beginning to define awareness, mindfulness and disconnected states of being.

The desire to become aware is really the first fundamental shift (there may be more shifts later, but this is the first profound one). So what is awareness? How do we use mindfulness within awareness? And what is disconnect?

An example from Anthony Robbins: We don’t want money, we want to be happy, we want the feeling money gives us. You are disconnected when details like this aren’t clear. We need to be aware when we are not happy. More importantly, we need to become aware of what will make us happy. Mindful meditation is one way to develop these skills.

Busy mind is an example of being disconnected. Getting caught in a belief system of the news, or chasing money at the expense of peace or happiness is being disconnected.

Mindfulness is one pointed. It is being able to leave your mind on something and keep it there. So when we meditate, we are making an effort to develop mindfulness of our breath. But mindfulness is not all there is, awareness is the awakened state that we also want to cultivate.

Awareness is the watcher in the back, without judgment We watch ourselves and allow it all to be. So it is not only the quality of watching, it is the quality of forgiveness. It is the quality of understanding. This is the beginning of wisdom. We start to watch our thoughts and emotions and we stop judging them. This allows us to open to a freedom of being. We don’t have to be as critical as we are. Our inner dialog has gotten out of control.

Why is it unwise to get attached? As everything is made of change, when we try to hold on to things, events, feelings, etc. we will constantly be disappointed.

Referenced: Tony Robbins