How to Change Your Habits Without Using Willpower
By Noah St. John
We’ve often heard that your conscious mind makes up less than 10% of your total brain function and that the subconscious or unintentional aspect of your mind represents more than 90% of your total brain function.
Your subconscious is a vast collection of unintentional, habitual thoughts, behaviors, and actions. Therefore, the phrase that best describes the Subconscious mind is NO CHOICE.
For example, imagine that you’re sitting in your office and suddenly someone came in and turned off all the lights. Now it’s completely dark and you can’t see anything.
What would happen if I then asked you to re-arrange the furniture? How successful would you be at rearranging the furniture in a room with no visible light? The answer is: not very!
But just because you can’t rearrange the furniture in a room where you can’t see anything, does that mean you’re incapable of arranging furniture? Of course not! You are PERFECTLY capable of arranging furniture… when you can see what you’re doing!
Your subconscious mind is like that dark room. It’s hidden beneath the surface, like the bottom 90% of an iceberg. And when you can’t SEE something, it’s awfully hard to change it!
Press Down on the Gas – and the Brake?
For example, let’s say you want to drive from New York to Los Angeles. And let’s say you’ve got a nice, reliable car to get you where you want to go. So you start down the highway towards your destination. You’re thinking positive, you’re motivated, and you can’t wait to get there.
So you press down really hard on the GAS pedal. But unbeknownst to you, at the same time as you have one foot on the gas, you’ve developed the unconscious habit of driving with your other foot on the BRAKE.
So here you are driving down the highway of life, trying to reach your goal… but you’ve developed the habit of driving with one foot on the BRAKE. How long do you think it’s going to take you to reach your destination? EXACTLY. A looooong, long time.
Now, because it’s taking you much longer than you thought it would to reach your destination, you start to search for a way to get there faster with less effort. So you find someone who says they know how to get there, and they say to you: “You know what you need? You should get a more expensive type of GASOLINE! That’s your problem!”
So you pull into the gas station and fill your tank with the most expensive, high-octane gasoline you can find, and get back on the highway of life. But, guess what? Because you didn’t change your habit of driving with one foot on the BRAKE, you’re still not making much progress.
So someone else comes up to you and says: “You know what you need? You should get a new set of TIRES! Try these REALLY EXPENSIVE tires, that’s your problem!”
So you go to the service station, spend MORE money buying the most expensive tires you can find, and get back on the highway. But, you’ve still got the same habit of having one foot on the BRAKE… so you’re still not reaching your destination.
Finally, someone says to you, “You know what you need? You should get a new CAR! This car you’re driving isn’t good enough. You should get a REALLY EXPENSIVE sports car, that’s your problem!” So you trade in your nice, reliable car, spend MORE money buying an expensive sports car, and get back on the highway of life.
But, even after ALL this time, money and effort, because no one took the time to show you the REAL problem – which is simply the fact that you have developed the habit of driving with one foot on the brake – you end up NOT reaching your goals… and perhaps even giving up on your dream.
Replace the Habit
So if buying more expensive gas, more expensive tires, and even a brand new car isn’t going to get you where you want to go, in order to change your habits, first, learn why you developed the habit of driving with your foot on the brake in the first place.
And second, replace that costly habit with the Power Habits® that enable you to get you where you want to go faster, easier, and with far less stress.
About the Author
Author of 10 books that have been translated into 12 languages, Noah appears frequently in the news worldwide, including ABC, NBC, CBS, The Hallmark Channel, National Public Radio, Parade, Woman’s Day, Los Angeles Business Journal, The Washington Post, Selling Power, Forbes.com, Owning Pink and The Huffington Post.