How to Change

1. Decide what to change. Narrow it down. For example, do not decide something like this: "I want to change the way I interact with people." It's too general. It is more difficult to change something general than it is to change something specific. Many times people fail to make a change only because they haven't been specific enough about what they were trying to change. So if you want to change the way you interact, get down to specifics. What do you want to change about the way you interact? Do you want to give more acknowledgments? Do you want to pay more attention when people are talking? Do you want to express more feeling when you talk? Be specific.

2. Make a slogan. Think about what you need to change and what's the best way to change it, and encapsulate that into a short sentence. Play with the words until the sentence is easy to say and remember.

But don't repeat anything untrue. Please pay attention to this. It's important. If you say, "I am slim and trim" when you weigh five hundred pounds, it may get you to think you're slim and trim when you're not. Anorexics believe they're fat, even when they are so skinny they're barely alive. They look in the mirror and see a fat person. They frequently think the thought, "I'm a fat slob" or something close to that, and they have convinced themselves it's true when it isn't.

If you want to lose weight, you don't want to merely think you've lost weight. You want to physically and in reality lose weight. So you'll have to do something physical. Instead of repeating a statement of "fact," repeat commands or rules of behavior: Exercise five days a week. Seven servings of veggies a day.

When you design a slogan, make it practical. Ask yourself, "Will it be good for me to believe this?" or "Will it direct me to useful action?"

3. Repeat it. Write your slogan on a card and carry it with you. Repeat it to yourself often throughout the day. The more you repeat your slogan, the faster you will change and the sooner the results will show up.

When you concentrate on one slogan until you accomplish the change you want and then stop repeating that slogan, sometimes you'll regress back to your old way of thinking, and the change you accomplished will fade. This is not a failure. Please remember this. It is only a regression to old habits. Simply start using the slogan again. The change will come back. This time, however, keep repeating that slogan even after the change is accomplished again, for awhile at least, just to make sure the new habit has really taken hold.

After repeating your slogan for awhile, it will start to come into your mind automatically when you need it. You have successfully changed the way you think, which will change the way you feel and act, which will change the results you get.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Slotralogy, Antivirus For Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

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