Updated Dec, 19th 2014
A link to my talk: how pausing before reaching for sugar can change your life
Why is it so hard for us to change things that wer are used to doing?
A great Russian poet and a performer Vladimir Vysotsky was considered a genius by many. People love his work and performances.
Yet his career was affected by his addiction to alcohol. Throughout his life time he tried everything to change it. But nothing helped. Until one day, his doctor came up with an extreme solution: implement a bag of medicine to his stomach, via mean of surgery. This bag contained medicine that when mixed with alcohol, can cause a person to be knocked unconscious and even lead to death. Vysotsy had to go as far to be scared to death in order to change something in his habits. But even that did not help. At the age of 42, he died of chemical positioning.
so why is it so difficult to make us change things in our lives, even everyday things, not even addictions?
Let's say that we would like to cut down on sugar and we say it to ourselves. But as we are familiar with everyday life situations, no matter how many times we remind it to ourselves, we slip in the moment of truth - when we see a sweet that we love.
The reason we do that is because we are biologically built to resist change.
When we say the word “change,” we automatically start focusing on the very thing that we are not going to have. We start focusing on the lack of that sugar that we wanted to cut back on. This invokes an automatic reaction of fear – fear of losing what we are not going to have. That automatic fear triggers a part of our brain that is called the amygdala. The amygdala is responsible for our survival mechanism. That’s why feel out of control and the inability to reason.
What can cause us to change?
A little thing called a pause. When we pause, we automatically shift to our “logical brain.” We step out of survival mechanism. When we do that, we suddenly go back to “reality.” We are able to choose what we intended to do and not act out of an automatic reaction.
That’s why when we pause, we feel a small winning cessation. We feel in control. We feel good about ourselves. That is a small success – a success of managing the situation. That great feeling would make us want to do it again. Another pause before the next sugary thing we see. Another such success is another “feeling good” vibe.
These little successes add up to a small success and to a medium success and then to a great success, which is ultimately a change in our habit.
It also leads us to other successes in life, because when we feel successful, even in little things, we attract other successes as well.
So next time you wish to change something in your life, don’t say change. Just say pause. J