FIVE STEPS TO A NEW BEHAVIOUR
Putting it simply, A Behaviour is Anything You Do. If you do something physically, like sit, stand, run, turn your head, etc., that’s a behaviour. And if you do something in your mind, like talk to yourself, think good thoughts, make a mental plan, replay an incident, etc., that’s a behaviour too. Though it might not be obvious to many of us, the truth is that human beings spend most of their lives either developing new behaviours, keeping existing behaviours or getting rid of old behaviours. And interestingly enough, getting rid of an old behaviour, keeping and existing behaviour and developing a new behaviour are all behaviours in themselves and ones that could be developed. So the development of new behaviours becomes a significant part of living the life you want. The more easily you are able to develop the kinds of behaviours that you want, the more likely you are of living your ideal life. Successful individuals from various fields like doctors, musicians, mathematicians, businessmen, martial artists and sports people know the secret to developing new behaviours extremely well. The secret is rather elementary and has 5 simple steps.
The first step to developing a new behaviour is to identify exactly what the new behaviour you want to develop is. In other words be clear about exactly what you will be doing if were demonstrating the new behaviour. For example, if the new behaviour you want to develop is to learn how to swim, nail down everything that you need to be doing to achieve that. Like going to a swimming pool, getting into the water, moving your hand and legs according to the style you are swimming in, etc. Likewise, if the new behaviour you want to develop is to start walking regularly, be crystal clear about everything that you need to be doing to achieve that. Like waking up earlier in the morning, getting ready and putting on your walking gear, actually stepping out of the house and beginning to walk, the exact path that you will take, what time you will finish and get back home, etc.
The second step is to close your eyes and see yourself doing all the things that you need to do to be demonstrating the new behaviour. While the first step was happening at a very logical level, this step is happening at an emotional and feeling level. It therefore has to be done in a very calm and relaxed manner and ensuring that you experience the feelings and emotions behind all the things that you need to do. So close your eyes, relax your body and mind and see yourself going through every single detail of the new behaviour. If you are seeing yourself walking on the street, see the flowers on the trees, feel the chill air hit you, and experience the entire walk in as much detail as possible. Do likewise for the swimming experience if that’s the new behaviour you want to develop.
Step three is the practice. You need to practice the new behaviour over and over again to get it into your system. Going for a walk for two days or being able to float on water does not make it a new behaviour. It only means that you are going in the right direction and it’s not time to celebrate yet. Repeating a behaviour consciously and deliberately, over and over again, takes you to step four.
Step four is where positive feelings about the new behaviour start to surface and eventually flood your mind. You begin to feel good about your morning walks. You feel like walking every morning and enjoy doing it and it’s not a chore anymore. You feel confident about not just floating on water but moving swiftly from one end of the pool to the other. You are no more threatened by the deep end.
The last and final step is step five. Here, your emotional comfort with the new behaviour has become so high as a result of repeated practice that the behaviour becomes rather automatic. This realistically is the celebration time but most people who have made this journey successfully realize that reaching step five in itself is a celebration and it hardly calls for any external reward system to sustain it.
Article in Life Coach Section, April 2015 Issue of Homeopathy & You Magazine by Vinesh Sukumaran