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MAKING A LONG-TERM CHANGE

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 "Change is the only constant" - anon.

To understand how to change we must first understand how change comes about. It must be realized that every decision we make is solely influenced by how we "link" pain and pleasure. All our current behaviors are learned and, of course, will be changed in the same way. All change happens in an instant. We must believe that. Change must be reinforced and it must also be conditioned so that it becomes lasting. By this, it is simply meant that we must decide to change and constantly and religiously adhere to the new set of standards that we have now set for ourselves. For example, when a new piano is purchased it must be tuned, but everyone knows that right? The strings also have to be tuned every week for some time after the initial tuning. The reason for this is that after one tuning session the strings will want to go back to their original state if they are not tuned (conditioned) over and over (reinforced) until they stay tuned, and even at this point they are tuned regularly to remain in the new desired state (new behavior).

To make a long term lasting change, like permanent weight loss,you must believe you can change now. It makes sense when you realize we can create any problem in a moment, and we can also create any solution in a moment. We are each responsible for our own change and no one in the world can help us unless the need to change is strong. If you should go to the gym, if you should eat supportively and if you should change your lifestyle…you won’t. There is simply not enough leverage; you don’t have enough pain linked to your old lifestyle or enough pleasure linked to your desired behavior. For example: when you were in school, how many times did you have a paper to write that you should have finished in the two weeks that the teacher gave you to complete? Now, how many times were you able to complete the whole paper the night before it was due? This is a simple example in which there is more pleasure "linked" to other things in one's life and pain "linked" to doing the paper. In the night before the links changed, the should became a must, and suddenly in that moment pain was linked to not completing the paper. A simple shift in pain and pleasure can result in changing any behavior you desire into anything you want.

Now that you have a better understanding of how simple change is, there are three beliefs that you must have to produce long term lasting change.

1. You must believe that something must change.

2. You must believe that you must change it; you have to be the source of your own change.

3. You must believe you can change it.

The operative word is "believe" which is synonymous with being convinced, understanding and accepting.

When you believe that change is simple, that something must change and you must be the source, you will be well on your way to a healthy lifestyle, free from unnecessary health problems and excess weight.

The first step to change is deciding what you really want and pinpointing what is preventing you from having it. Don’t be afraid at this point to pull out a pen and paper and make a list. When listing the things that you do want, be careful not to focus on the things that you don’t.

Most people list a lot of things that they don’t want when asked what they want. You have to remember that you will automatically move toward what you focus on and those things should never be negative. In your list of must haves, don’t be shy. If you must have it – you will. From this simple list you will also discover what is preventing you from changing your behaviors now. Some of the things that may be preventing you from obtaining your new behaviors may be things that you very much enjoy. You must also realize that they must change if they are preventing you from having what you want. For example: If your desired item is to lose unwanted weight and the thing preventing you from having it is the fact that you go out twice a week for beer and pizza with friends, that behavior must be eliminated if you are set on achieving your desired change. I am not by any means saying that you should never have fun! I am simply saying that if a desired change is an absolute must, the pleasure that is associated with the limiting behavior has to be changed. Pain must be associated with this behavior, as it is preventing you form the pleasure of your desired outcome – CHANGE.

DESIRED BEHAVIOR (CHANGE)

PREVENTING ME FROM HAVING IT