Actions have consequences…
My cousin Michael and I have this running joke about decisions having consequences. Without going into the sordid details here, let’s just say that it involves the relationship-consequences of certain decisions that in hindsight have predictably adverse consequences…I’m sure you get it; we’ve all been there and done that.
Same action…same outcome
While we often learn from those shorter-term decisions and their consequences, it is hard for most people to see how their daily decisions, big and small add up to specific outcomes in their lives. Many of us keep doing the same thing over and over again and hope that somehow, we’ll achieve a different and better outcome…not likely to happen (I’ll spare you the tired definition of insanity).
In the previous post we discussed how we are often lured into taking culture-prescribed actions without much awareness of alternative courses of action that may prove to be a better fit for us, individually. An action requires a moment of decision. This decision maybe so automated that it doesn’t even reach our consciousness; we don’t really decide everyday anew that we are going to brush our teeth…we just do it. However, if for some reason the act of brushing our teeth is called into question, we may make a conscious decision to continue doing so, or not.
Energy-efficient decision making
From a body perspective, not having to go through a conscious decision-making process for the thousands of actions we take every day, is a matter of energy-efficiency. The brain is a power-user of our oxygen and energy supply under the best of -automated- circumstances and so it pays to be energy-efficient.
When we want to change our habits (automated decision plus corresponding action), it -at first- takes a lot of conscious decision making. In addition, we have to interrupt automated-decision-and-action-pathways in the brain. Those automated pathways always have a head-start on initiating a behavior, because there is no consciously deliberative process preceding it. Interrupting a process that already has gained momentum is enormously costly in terms of energy use. This is the reason why changing our habits is so challenging and exhausting.
Uncover your energy sources, build pathways
To successfully change our habits, we must automate the decision-making process as well as the corresponding actions. That requires consciously making those desired decisions and performing those actions over and over again until we have created a well-worn track. To be able to do this hard work, we must find the energy-generating drives, emotions and meaning behind the desire to change and learn to tap into them. Once we have built those new, automated neural pathways, we don’t have to consciously make those decisions any more and the train more or less drives itself.
Change your life, one automated neural pathway at a time
The process of coaching involves helping our clients build new habits that support the goals that they have set for themselves, as well as identifying the energy-generators. It is important to understand the physical changes that need to take place, before one can consistently take the actions that lead to successful goal achievement. Just having a good idea or vision doesn’t cut it.
As always, I’m looking forward to your comments.
As a token of appreciation for my readers, I would like to extend you the offer of a free 30-minute coaching conversation. Email me at RaymondFerrier@SpiralsSRQ.com to schedule a session by phone.