Have you ever heard the expression,” Quit banging your head against the wall!” It’s an old expression my Mom used that basically translates into: There are certain things we do that are as productive and healthy as banging your head against the wall.
The interesting thing about the banging-your-head-against-the-wall, hereafter known as HBS, is its tendency to repeat itself. Which brings up another voice from my childhood: “When will you learn?” As in: “How many times do you need to bang your head against the wall to figure out it hurts?”
Why is it that after our Mothers collectively imparted this wisdom to us, either it took us a very long time to figure it out for ourselves or we still haven’t done so? I mean really, are we as thick as the bricks in that wall? The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expect different results. Hence our Mother’s refrain, “Are you nuts or what?”
In the process of Life Coaching, we often find that people do just that…continue on with habitual behaviors that not only don’t work but actually hurt. We fall into a pattern and we stick with it come hell or high water. We operate on automatic pilot. We think we are making real choices in our actions but far from it. Habitual behavior runs us. We aren’t really in control of our life.
Habitual behavior is oftentimes a result of behavioral adaptations we made when we were younger. You know, if your Mom didn’t love you enough, you might have developed the habit of looking for love in all the wrong places. Sorry. And you kept repeating that behavior, a behavior that evolved from a childhood reaction but one that surely does not work as an adult, until you end up with a head that is bruised from all the banging. Finally a light goes off in the old noggin. What’s up with that?
Who is in charge here? Perhaps its that childhood voice inside your head that says you aren’t lovable. Is that voice telling you the truth? Not. It’s a voice, only a voice and one that operates with highly outdated and unreliable information. Call it a troll, a demon, whatever. It started way back when you were younger at a time when you made childlike decisions in order to survive. Who are you going to listen to…it or you?
Stop with the head banging, would you! As your Mother knew, it gets you nowhere fast. Nowhere is not a fun place. Understand that voice in your head for what it is…a voice that wants to keep you locked into habitual behavior that keeps you from inner awareness and therefore any change for the better.
Start by recognizing that voice and noticing it. That’s it. Just notice it. Don’t argue with or attempt to have a rational conversation. It isn’t a rational voice. Trust me, I know from experience. Once you are aware of its presence, you can choose to ignore it. Awareness, then clarity, will lead to conscious decisions; decisions that are made by you and you alone. Nothing unconscious like trolls or bad habits.
Seek to develop new habits. If your life was run by bad habits then conversely it can be run by good habits you consciously choose. To develop a habit you simply must stick with for about three months and you are home safe. Just create the picture of what you want your behavior to look like and list ten habits that will get you to that picture of yourself.
It works the same with your life. Where would you like to be in ten years in terms of who and what you are and what you are doing? Think of ten habits that will get you to that Future Self and start today in adopting those guideposts. Work backwards from the future.
If you really want to make changes for the better you must aware of what is running you. That takes work…but again as Mom always said, “The effort you put into something determines what you get out of it.” Or was it, “Nothing worthwhile is easy.” Whatever, you get the picture.