Simple Steps for Changing Habits

Baby Steps Please

Ego alert: Ego’s going to think this is dumb. Baby steps are for babies. Then why are you still stuck in a crappy job, overeating while sitting in front of the TV or computer, reaching one more time for the things you know you don’t want but cannot seem to let go of?

Where Are You? Exactly?

Are you in the past, re-living whatever you think didn’t work? Or in the future, petrified that you won’t be able to pull it off? Or are you here? Right now.

“It isn’t what you did in the past that will affect the present. It’s what you do in the present that will redeem the past and thereby change the future.”

– from The Aleph by Paulo Coelho on Courage2Create

Rehearse Success

Use your active imagination to cultivate positive results. (I totally did not do this when I met one of my heroes, Leo Babauto … keep reading for the full story about one of my big, fat flubs.)

After all, we use it constantly to reinforce negative results when we write the movie scripts titled, I Can’t, He/She/They Won’t Like Me, I Don’t Know How, It’s Too Hard/Boring, I’m Too Old/Young/Uneducated/Tired.

As Seth Godin put it, Rehearsing failure is simply a bad habit, not a productive use of your time.

Pay Attention to the Positives

The negative feedback loop in our brains pays way more attention to negative experiences. No time to pay attention to what’s working well if that saber-toothed tiger is preparing to have us for for dinner.

In terms of evolutionary growth, our reptilian brains can still be running the show, even though it’s been quite a while since we actually got served up as dinner.

modern-day saber-toothed tiger

modern-day saber-toothed tiger

Watch neuropsychologist Rick Hanson (Dr. Richard Hanson), who wrote the fantastic book, Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom, explain it in this 17-minute video.


One of My Big, Fat Flubs

I got to meet Leo Babauta, of Zen Habits, at the World Domination Summit. If you’ve not heard of Leo, he’s got 2-million+ online subscribers. He’s masterful at speaking of changing habits in simple, everyday, yes-you-can-do-this ways.

So, he and I are at a small, private gathering at the WDS conference in Portland, hosted by the beloved (and now departed) Scott Dinsmore.

Leo and I are chatting. He asks me the name of my website, ’cause I’m all huffy and puffy about being Ms. Mindfulness Psychologist, Blogger, etc.

I choke. Cannot remember the name of my brand-new website or blog.

Guess what? It was my name. My name.

I slink off to a dark corner of the bar, and sit in shame, drinking my Pellegrino.

Since then, I’ve built a whole ‘nother website. Worked really hard on my branding and marketing and elevator speechifying. Built a popular Happiness IQ Quiz. Been producing/hosting/engineering my own public radio show for 2+ years.

I had a big, fat flub. And it taught me so much about how to show up for myself.

Here’s one of the hundreds of posts Leo has, all for free.


These ideas work well if you:

  • understand that everything is “figurable-outable,” but sometimes you just can’t do it on your own;
  • are willing to use your curiosity and creativity to do things differently;
  • know that, sometimes, the most important investment you can make is yourself;
  • want to know what it feels like to live from happiness and joy and abundance, instead of struggle and loneliness and fear.