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My Secret for Overcoming Resistance and Transforming My Life

My Secret for Overcoming Resistance and Transforming My Life

How you feel about your life right now is likely going to be how you will feel about it until your time on earth is over, unless: you either have a near death experience or you go through a time that’s dramatic enough to shock you into truly wanting to transform your life.

Most of the 500 or more entrepreneurs (male, female and of all ages) who have received transformational coaching from me, and subsequently seen their life transform to new heights, expressed that, before then, no matter how hard they worked to break out of it, they had a frustrating sense of ‘sameness’ about their life.

What It Takes to Transform Your Life

One client I coached recently was a property investor. He’d built up his business over 10 years to enable him to travel across South America.

Problem was, he always had something getting in the way that he had to handle to run the business. It was exhausting for him.

In receiving coaching from me he became aware of an event that happened when he was 7 years old. He was meeting his extended family in a restaurant in India for the first time. His mother guided him into the communal toilets and he asked, “Mom, where is the toilet?”

She then pointed at the cubicles that had no doors, holes in the ground instead of toilets and people taking their turn while in full view of everyone else and said, “That is the toilet!”

At the time he became scared and realized he was thinking, “I’m not safe.” And this was the way he interpreted the world. From that moment onwards the world was ‘I’m not safe’.

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Through his life and times in business, this caused him to choose ‘safety’ above all. As a result, he created stable investment opportunities that grew over 10 years and enabled him to own six large properties, but the problem was that this very interpretation (which became a way of being) was now the very thing that was also holding him back from growing his business or enjoying the fruits of his labour.

Once he awakened to see this interpretation, he got that he didn’t have to be ‘I’m not safe’ any longer and micromanage everything. With further coaching, he began answering the question, “What would it actually take for me to create my business to enable me to travel to South America?” So he systemized each business process. As a result, within a few months of the first session, he packed his bags and left to fulfil his dream ambition (that he’d had for over 10 years) of travelling across South America.

He’s since posted photographs of this trip on Facebook, and on returning to the UK, left again a few weeks later to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. Now he is back in the UK and looking at travelling across Japan. He’s since also managed to expand his business and is on track for greater profits than ever before from rental income. His life has transformed completely.

So what will it take for you to overcome your resistance to doing the deeper work? To see what interpretations you’ve made about yourself and the world around you? Also to see how they may be holding you back from taking those important actions?

If you want to access a new level of satisfaction through your work, elevate the quality of your life and find a deeper sense of freedom, doing this deeper transformational work is the only way.

Why the Resistance Is So Strong

You and any other entrepreneur out there are only going to succeed when you change how you are ‘being’, as this is where the actions that you take arise from. But why is it so difficult to change how we are being and in turn change the actions we take? The reason is that when we set out to realize an ambition, we are faced with a period of ‘latency’ before the results show.

In this period of latency we are faced with the unknown, and the reptilian part of our brain is wired to ensure that we never fail again. So it viciously reminds us of all the things we’ve failed at and ensures that we don’t take actions that may result in us experiencing those failures again. The result is, the resistance to change dominates us, we remain in (seemingly chosen) procrastination and we subconsciously avoid doing the deeper inner transformational work.

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This then results in many (and possibly you) spinning in a sense of ‘sameness’.

So how are we to conquer this? Firstly understand that your brain is wired to predominantly survive. Understand that your brain will consistently avoid you ever taking actions that could cause you to experience more moments of failure again.

Once you grasp this, you are then aware that your attention is usually on what could go wrong rather than on a new, possible and inspirational future.

Risk assessment need not be cast aside completely; however, we cannot have this as the primary driver because it’s a state of survival which causes our creative mind to shut down.

Once this happens, most people report entering a ‘Groundhog Day’ sensation- that every day feels the same and they can’t see a way out. Once we take our mind off ‘surviving’ and instead begin to practise seeing the tiny successes that we have every day, we then move from a state of survival and into a state of ‘creation’. This is a relaxed state of being that allows us to see opportunity, to think innovatively and become inspired as we begin to envision a whole new and inspirational future.

If you commit to this way of thinking, you’ll shift your mindset from one of looking for what you can ‘survive’ to one of looking for opportunities to ‘create’. Once you practise this, you’ll begin to notice the incremental successes every day. This will cause you to feel inspired about yourself and your abilities; you’ll then find it much easier to take those important actions and will begin awakening yourself to the wonders of what you are truly capable of again.

5 Transformational Steps

Here are 5 easy to follow yet powerfully transformational steps you can take to begin to break through the resistance required to transform your life.

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1. Imagine Living the Dream

Imagine you took every action you knew to take and that you made the most of every single opportunity that came your way and that you are now three years from today. Write (or type) a short story of living through a perfect ‘average’ day if you were ‘living the dream’.

Include where you wake up? Who with? What car do you drive? How many clients do you work with? How much are you earning? How do your clients feel receiving your products or services? What do you do in the afternoons? What do you do for fun? How do the people you know celebrate you? As you write this down, forget the world and let go, and have fun with it.

2. Bedtime Routine

Place this written piece of text next to your bed (possibly print and laminate it) and read it EVERY night before you go to sleep and every morning before you rise up out of bed.

You can also read more about bedtime routine here: Poor Sleep Quality Comes from All the Things You Do Since Morning

3. Powerful Action

In your diary, write down the three very most important actions that you are going to complete this week and when to begin powerfully moving you along your path to realizing this dream lifestyle.

Find out How Simply Jotting Down Ideas Can Make You Smarter.

4. Keep the Dream Alive

As you write these actions down, keep ‘alive’ the sensations you felt about what it will be like when you master this dream lifestyle and why you’re taking these actions each week. You MUST keep the reason ‘why’ you do what you do every day alive or you will lose motivation and go back to a sense of ‘sameness’ again.

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Read more to find out how to stay motivated when it’s difficult to reach your dreams: Pursuing Dreams is Like an Iceberg. Most People Only See the Tip of it.

5. Consistent Action

From now on and on a weekly basis – on Sunday evenings is great – write the next three very most important actions to take during the coming week.

The only way you will break out of a sense of ‘sameness’ and through the resistance to transform your life is if you work to become so inspired that you want to change. This exercise, if applied effectively, will enable this. All the people who have achieved great things did so by allowing themselves to dream really big yet then took consistent tiny, tiny daily actions.

Building habits is all about the small things you do consistently, here’s another article about How to Program Your Mind to Build the Habit You Want

If you apply this exercise, you will see results. You’ll see things beginning to shift, things beginning to move. This will empower you and before long you’ll begin to see your dream lifestyle begin to form before your eyes.

More by this author

Dan Warburton

Transformational Coach

My Secret for Overcoming Resistance and Transforming My Life

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

More About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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