We Have To Live Ourselves Into A New Way Of Thinking
Every year, when I set my intention and priorities for the months to come, I like to remind myself of the most important lesson I have learned from studying change:
The strongest predictor of a change in our behavior isn't a change in our thinking. The strongest predictor of a change in our behavior is a change in our behavior.
Just a short-circuit in my mind, you worry? Not quite.
It simply means: No amount of thinking, planning or strategizing will make us realize the goals we pursue. It's the action that nurtures the inspiration that keeps us going. What creates the change is the doing.
But How do we get ourselves to actually Do the doing?
One of the most effective strategies to get ourselves to do the doing is to hang out with people who are doing the things we want to do too.
As human beings, we need to fit in and belong. For better or worse, we copy the behavior of others and become a little bit like the people we spend lots of time with.
They influence what we see and hear, what we talk about, believe in, and what we see possible for ourselves. They help us form new habits. And, what we practice over time, we become.
So, when it comes to making changes in the coming year, an important question to ask ourselves is: Where are the people who practice habits that I want to develop myself, too?
Doing = Acting together as if
A focus on the doing changes what we are looking for. Instead of spending lots of time in our heads with new (and old) new year's resolutions, we start to seek immediate first-hand experience.
We start to gravitate towards the people who naturally live the values we seek to grow. We start to look for people who can help us experiment with new ways of being.
We create possibilities to live as if our ideas were already an established reality of our life. We create small, temporary prototypes that push us to act as if this was "the real thing" (which, of course, it then already is).
We prioritize the practice and the process over the planning and the strategies. We simply start to live ourselves into a new way of thinking.