Stay consistent with change

Work on your own change and stay consistent with it by breaking out of inherited collective mind-patterns.

We all have certain personal behaviours we wish we could change. Whether this change can be related to healthy eating choices, lifestyle choices, decisions related to work or relationship choices. Some of us set goals to achieve our dreams or improve our behaviour and wellness. And in order to achieve these goals, certain negative habitual patterns need to be replaced by positive ones that actually stick. But despite our intentions, more often we fail to be consistent in our efforts. When we are starting out in a new goal, we are full of energy and enthusiasm. We eagerly make changes in the first few weeks. But as the days pass on, the newness wears off and we fall off the wagon back into old behavioural and habitual patterns. Many lack potential to be consistent with the change.

Why is it difficult to change and be consistent with change once we decide upon it!

The main reason being our own perception of change. We begin to form these perceptions from a young age. Because of this, thinking of change makes us feel uneasy and we start resisting changes we wish we could have made. Because of the perceived risk or fear attached to it, we end up procrastinating, stressing ourselves up or ending up dropping the changes and resorting to old behavioural or negative habitual patterns.

We always have a choice when it comes to choosing between self-managed lifestyle and our present orientation. Most of our positive habits develop out of necessity, without specific intention. This can make us inconsistent in following our resolutions inspite of putting in the time and effort. We are often unaware and unprepared for change because of our habitual nature of our behaviour, which drives much of our daily activities as often as usual. Change in our habitual behaviour cannot happen in linear fashion or in a single moment but only occurs gradually.

Factors that obstruct change

When we want to implement a change, we temporarily face resistance by becoming angry and withdrawn. Thinking “it’s all hopeless and impossible to make changes, so, why try?” or “just stay the way you are” is what usually keeps you from it. when we have some habitual and behavioural patterns buried deeply within us, often our reaction is to think the approach is silly, or it doesn’t make sense, or unacceptable. We don’t want to do it. Because of this it becomes difficult to switch between habitual behaviour and deliberate decision. The effective method is to reduce the habitual control over behaviour and modify the factors that control the behaviour.

Here are some factors which impede your ability to be consistent with the change.

• Even when you know your old habits are inefficient, you remain convinced that they are necessary for success.

• Your environment is unsupportive of the habits you are trying to cultivate or the changes you’re trying to make.

• Undervaluing the achievement and overvaluing the importance of the interruption.

• Misplaced belief in a less effective habit leads you astray and a positive belief in bad habits turn a habit into a permanent behaviour.

• Lack of motivation and lack of conscious intention towards change.

• Incorrect perception of the advantages of change and deeply ingrained contrary perspectives interfere with your ability to keep up with the change.

• Having an inflated self control belief or overestimating the ability to control can increase chances of exposing yourself to impulsiveness.

• Not having proper commitment to plan, act and make substantial adjustments to keep up with the intended change.

To shift from habit to goal-directed action, you have to make an effort to do small things that will add up to you moving in that direction of change. The mind is a pattern making system. You should be capable of breaking out of inherited collective mind-patterns and cast off your limitations in order to adopt to your new behaviour to be in consistent with it.

Here are certain ways to progress in the direction of change and to be consistent.

Identify consistent cues

Our behaviours are triggered by physical and mental cues. When you put your plans into action, you have to make substantial adjustments to your routine, environment, your relationship and to yourself in order to further the change you desire. For instance, if you are looking to decrease procrastination, you should follow a realistic and purposeful daily schedule. By engaging in habits consistently, you can maintain a stable routine. Identify those things that happen with relative consistency from your daily routine and use them as anchors for your new behaviour or habits.

Be persistent in your efforts

From the moment you decide to make a change until you get the demonstration, there is a transitional period. You tend to go back and forth between what was and what you would like to be or to have. Don’t beat yourself up for the step backward and view it as a relapse into past habits. Trust that you will have plenty of days in the future to get back on track. At the same time remember to praise yourself for each small step forward that you make. Reflect back on advantages of the commitment you have made to be persistent in your efforts.

Develop insight awareness

Most of the times, you may not find yourself commit to making a change because of feeling a overwhelming sense of uncertainty. By analysing the advantages and disadvantages of continuing with the proposed behaviour and thinking through all possible avenues towards change, can help you in setting measurable goals and not to give up on them easily. It is essential to look at how your old habitual behaviour may conflict with your personal goals. This can be helpful to correct your perception of the advantage of change and can motivate you to progress in the direction of change.

Rely on intrinsic motivation

Sometimes, intrinsic motivation enhances your efforts of staying consistent with change by directly reinforcing the changed habits or behaviour. If you are intrinsically motivated, you continue with the changed habit or behaviour because you find it inherently satisfying. On the other hand, if your change is influenced by pressure from others, your willingness to be with the change will be short lived. By knowing why that desired change is important to you, you can reinforce your willingness to keep up and you can get through brief periods of temptation and can provide yourself with positive reinforcement of your changed behaviour or habit.

Practice self-reflection

Once your desired habit or behaviour is established, chances of returning to old habits or behaviour may always be present. It is important to avoid those things that might trigger your old behaviours or habits to reappear. Avoid overthinking or feeling guilty if you find yourself fluctuating back and forth. Reflecting upon these triggers can help you avoid them the next time around. Acknowledge your responsibility in having created that condition and plan on what you would do differently in the future to avoid these triggers.

Finally,

Develop mental agility to deal with change more effectively. Work on your own change. Do not identify with unhappy, fearful and limited self. Cast off your limitations. Break out of inherited collective mind-patterns and habits to achieve whatever you intend.

In conclusion

The majority of people fail at building life-changing habits because they start strong but give up early. You can’t focus on achieving something overnight. It takes time until you are strong in the new and have gone through complete change. Until then, you must be vigilant in your endeavours to change. Even the tiniest of efforts, when done consistently that brings you good results over time.

Notice if any of your long-standing behaviours are causing anxiety, guilt, fear, or depression, identify as to what factors are controlling your behaviour and work on changing them one by one and stay consistent in your efforts.

Manage your anger before it destroys you

Anger needs to be managed and expressed appropriately. Efficient anger management lets us handle situations positively.

Whenever there is injustice around us, we are subjected to anger. The feelings of anger and resentment well up more tension, stress and sadness. We do witness lot of demonstration of anger in the world. But all this anger in the past has enabled people to fight and overcome injustice. Unnecessary hatred and feelings of animosity create hostility. Whereas necessary anger serves a purpose. Sometimes it shows us a new perspective to move on or makes us realise something within us that we still need to work on.

We fail to recognise how accelerated our lives have become. The speed at which we are living results in racing thoughts where the mind goes rushing from one attitude to an other. This overstimulation creates emotional illness. It produces fatigue and frustration and we begin to fret about everything from our personal troubles to the state of the nation and the world.

At individual level, these chronic patterns of anger, hate, resentment and criticism raise the body’s stress levels and weaken our immune system. Anger clouds our thinking and concentration and leads to delusion and loss of memory. Anger is a natural energy and must be used constructively. If it overpowers, it can ruin us, but if we are in control, it can add to our welfare and strength.

“ Anyone can become angry- that’s easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time for the right purpose and in the right way – that is not easy.”- Aristotle

It is important to express your anger

Many of us experience bouts of anger from time to time. “When this anger is not expressed outwardly, it will be manifesting inwardly in the body and develops into a dis-ease or dysfunction.” The denial of anger and its suppression are unhealthy emotionally and physically. So it is good to release or express it in positive ways when it comes up.

Here are some ways, how anger manifests into various side effects based on its expression.

Repressed anger

Some people are afraid to show their anger. They hate making a scene and don’t like to offend others because they are scared of rejection. Many women are taught that anger is a bad emotion and for those who are parents, that losing your temper makes you a bad parent. So, many try to swallow their anger and suppress it. Despite being angry, they feel they don’t have a right to express it. This built up anger which is not expressed over a long time turns into bitterness and resentment. This might result in to depression and sadness.

Passive aggression

Some build anger against others or situations over time. They express it by sulking or criticising and tend to hold a grudge. They may not be screaming and shouting, but there is a good chance they’ll finally snap. This is aggression veiled in passive terms. Sometimes they end up venting their frustration on wrong people. Holding on to grudges will continue to keep them in a state of constant anger which effects their psychological well-being.

Habitual anger

Some are angry for major part of their lives. This is habitual anger and becomes their second nature. They always want to get their own way and are impatient. They are verbally expressive and frequently get into arguments. They have short fuse and slightest thing can set them off. Habitual anger is not good for the body as it gets lodged in there and might manifest into major health issues.

Learn to Manage your anger

Anger is a useful emotion and needs to be controlled and managed. With all the stress and pressure in our lives, it is easy to lose our cool at the slightest irritation. Like any other emotion, being aware of your agitated feelings lets you you recognise, accept and deal with them in a positive way.

Efficient anger management also lies in learning how to express your anger appropriately. We all know the damaging effects of anger and how it ends up creating negative thought patterns. So it is healthy to release anger to create new space inside for loving, optimistic and cheerful thought patterns.

Here are some techniques to help you manage your anger.

Control your emotions

We all become defensive and tend to over react during unfavourable situations. You don’t have to give everything a reaction. The best thing to do sometimes is to stay silent and walk away. It is better to realise that what matters so much in that moment may become insignificant later. Realise that being angry is to give away power to others. Instead control your own emotions.

Change the way you think

When you are angry, your thought process gets dramatised and exaggerated. Swearing and cursing leads to erratic behaviour. Recognise the situation and rationally replace them with calming thoughts. Make a conscious effort to rationalise your thoughts so that you can figure it out eventually. Restructure your thoughts for a favourable outcome.

Learn to communicate

Repressing anger is not healthy. Go beyond your emotional hurts and get out of ‘done me wrong’ syndrome. Learn to communicate your issues openly to the person with whom you are angry. It is always better to ‘Say’ rather that to ‘Show’ your anger.

It is ‘okay’ to be angry with your children or parent or spouse or employee or friend. Perhaps the anger is because you are not communicating with others. Clear up your mind by having healthy conversations and expressing it constructively. You will be able to see your situation in new light and find solutions.

Be aware of anger triggers

We cannot fight anger, but can be aware of what causes and when it arises. Rejecting and fighting the feelings of anger will only make you more agitated. Recognising and accepting with total awareness protects you from its damaging effects. Identify what is that you are really angry about and what are the situations that make you angry and resentful. Knowing what triggers lets you handle your feelings and gives you better control over those things and situations.

Practice forgiveness

Forgiveness is an act of freedom unto yourself. Holding on to the feelings of bitterness and anger will only make the issues bigger than they originally were. When you hold onto something from the past, it will continue to make your present moment disharmonious. Forgiving the person with whom you are angry and letting go of the anger will dissolve the disharmony and removes hostile thoughts and feelings. This gives you freedom to move on with present.

Think before you speak

Take a second to think about what you say in the heat of the moment. Saying something hurtful will have its dire consequences. If you are in a bad mood, it is ‘okay’ to avoid the confrontational situations until you are ready. Give yourself time to process it. Making others wait for your response is better than reacting immediately by saying something that you will only regret later.

Practice relaxation

When you feel fully relaxed and at ease, it would be difficult to feel angry or frustrated. When you relax, you can do much to release the tension associated with anger. Practice taking a handful of deep breaths before responding when you are angry. There are several breathing exercises that can help you deal with anger issues.

Mindful breathing has calming effect and makes you better equipped to manage your frustrations and impatience.

And finally, make a conscious effort to slow your pace or your tempo to quieten your thoughts. Repeat a series of words which express quietness and peace and perform your daily activities mindfully.

Shift to higher dimension

“ The more you connect to the power within you. The more you can be free in all areas of your life.”

“To be aware of a single shortcoming in oneself is more useful than to be aware of a thousand in someone else.”

So many of us hide from ourselves and we don’t even know who we truly are. We don’t know what we feel, we don’t know what we want.

Consciousness is essential to know who we are and to leave our limited thinking and beliefs behind for a bigger and cosmic view of life.

What is consciousness?

To be conscious is to go within and know who and what we really are, and to know that we have the ability to change for the better and recognise the power within. Being conscious is to live without fear, judgement, blame, and guilt.

Total awareness breaks the bondage that is rooted in our unconsciousness. It is the freedom to be the real you.

Why is it important to be conscious?

Conscious people own their commitments by owning their results. They experience what is here and now and are not trapped in old patterns.

Unconscious people are cut off from an authentic experience of themselves and people around. They are more reactive about the past or an imagined future and their ego or mind takes over. They lack creative impulse and tend to live out of familiar patterns again and again when fear or anger kicks them into reactivity.

Most of us live life unconsciously in the habitual nature of our personality and live in regret and anger because of the past and in fear about the future.

“A candid and pragmatic assessment and acceptance of ourselves and our abilities and limitations is essential for our well-being.”

Choosing consciousness

Often a single black line serves as an important model for the measure of your consciousness. At any point, you are either above the line or below the line.

The conscious beings are above the line. They are open, curious and are always committed to learning. They have the ability to tell themselves the truth. Below the line can be attributed to closed, defensive, and are committed to being right. Distortion and denial are the traits of unconscious beings.

When we perceive a threat to our sense of well-being, we go below the line, we don’t choose this consciously, we get defensive, limited and insist on being right. Whenever we are given feedback about our work or how we are perceived, we interpret it as a threat to our identity and tend to go below the line by being right instead of learning. Our ego firmly believes that if it is not right, it will not survive.

When we develop self-awareness and locate ourselves accurately where we stand, is it above or below, creates a possibility to shift from an unconscious being to conscious. By choosing consciousness, we shift from being closed to open, defensive to curious, wanting to be right to wanting to learn, and from fighting to survive to living with trust.

Here are four states of consciousness. Becoming aware of which state you are in and where you stand as to above or below the line, helps you to shift from being unconscious to consciousness.

The “TO ME” Awareness

This state of consciousness is synonymous with being below the line. We all spend most our time in this state. In ‘To Me’ consciousness, you see yourself “at the effect of” meaning you believe that the external conditions are responsible for your unhappiness, failure and insecurities. This makes you question “Why is this happening to me?” that is, you pin the cause of your well-being on external factors.

“To Me” mindset leads to ‘victim consciousness’ in which you are constantly looking to the past to assign blame for the current experience and this in a way disempowers you as you invest more in being right and thus makes you defensive and you experience very little control.

Key to change this mindset is to take responsibility for whatever is occurring in your life, owning up your experience, and letting go of need to blame yourself, others, circumstances, or conditions.

“As long as you cling to the idea of the way “ life is supposed to be,” your life circumstances will continue to reflect a perspective that sees itself at the effect of circumstances beyond your control “

The “BY ME” Awareness

When we shift from below the line to above, by taking responsibility, we move from living in ‘victim consciousness’ to ‘creator consciousness’ and from being “at the effect of” to “creating with”. In this state of awareness, instead of thinking that the world should be in a certain way, we see everything in the world as perfectly unfolding for our learning and development.

“ By Me” mindset leads to creator consciousness where in you begin to understand you are the cause of your experience and you are consciously creating with people, circumstances, and conditions. This mindset empowers and generates interest and curiosity. You experience a sense of control and power.

Key to develop this awareness is to choose curiosity and learning over being right and defensive. Opening yourself through curiosity helps you learn from the difficult situations. You start asking: “What can I learn from this situation?”

The “ Through Me” Awareness

As you open up “ Through Me” consciousness, the “ Me” starts to open up to another. Curiosity you developed in “By Me” state of awareness guides you to a different mindset of how everything relates to with you being the centre of consciousness. You begin to notice something beyond yourself with a bigger purpose. You start asking : “ what is the life’s highest purpose that wants to manifest through me?”

“ Through Me” mindset lets you understand that there is “other”in addition to “me” that wants to make something manifest in and through you. Instead of figuring out, it lets you pay attention to various things that are being communicated there by improving your intuitiveness.

Key to gain this awareness is to surrender and let go of control of people, things, and circumstances. By developing an higher sense of your purpose and clear vision, you let life’s highest idea to manifest itself through you.

“ when I finally get all my ducks Ina row, I realised they’re not even my ducks.” Let go of the illusion of control.

The “AS ME” Awareness

You begin to experience “ oneness” in this consciousness. There is only one reality and it is not divided and there is no separation. You are in fact, part of the oneness of universe. Once you realise the truth of oneness and who you are, your consciousness changes dramatically.

With “As Me” awareness you realise this oneness and that you are living in a world without any separation. No separation between you and your environment or you and your competitors and so on.

Key to develop this awareness is to meditate on interdependent and interconnected nature of the universe. The strong conviction of oneness acts like an anchor that keeps you stable and prevents you from drifting.

“ To see one in all and all in one is to break through the great barrier which narrows one’s perception of reality.”

– Nhat Hanh-

The above mentioned are not stages of development. We don’t move from one stage to another, but they guide you in becoming aware of which state you are in. As you develop deeper understanding of your true self, you can choose to shift your awareness from “ at the effect of” to “creating with.” You further strive to find a higher purpose through universal oneness.