Every year we are on this planet, we face another January 1st.
Do you know what happens in the first week in January?
It is impossible to find a parking spot at the gym. It is the great revelation of everyone in America’s New Year’s resolutions.
However, as spring approaches, you may notice that if you drive by the gym, there are now plenty of parking spots.
What happened? Was there a mass alien abduction? No, most people went back to doing what they were doing before the beginning of the year.
Change is hard. Well, maybe a better way of saying it is that lasting change is hard.
It is easy to decide to change. Decisions are always easy. I can decide to be the top salesperson on the team. It is really that easy, but then comes the hard part. I have to do the activity of a top salesperson and do it consistently.
Science tells us that an object at rest will stay at rest unless it is put into motion by another object.
Sometimes the object that moves us is inspiration or enthusiasm. Sometimes it is something negative like guilt or shame.
Have you ever joined a gym because you were not happy about how you looked in a mirror? In that moment, shame moved you to take action. Emotion is a powerful motivator to take action. That is why we take the first steps, and start with the best intentions.
Have you ever started a gym membership and stopped showing up? What happened? Didn’t you have the best intentions when you signed up for the gym? Yes, we all do, but lasting change is hard.
What is Real Lasting Change?
In science we hear that an object in motion will stay in motion unless there is a force preventing it from continuing in its trajectory. One example of this is gravity, another one is friction.
For us, when it comes to decision-making, the friction and gravity that we experience is all in our head. When we consider making a change, we confront a lifetime of thought patterns. Our thoughts have carved neural pathways into our brain. It is like a stream in a stream-bed that was carved by running water over a long period of time.
The same is true of our thought patterns. When we change our activity, we are carving new neural pathways, new stream-beds…and that is work that our brain does not like. Our brains are lazy and do not like the work of carving new neural pathways.
Our brain before the change sees an image of ourselves. This image has been created from our self-image, and our environment. This has been carved into our brains for a long time. Yes, it is quite literally carved into our brains.
You want to sell more, but you see yourself as a failure. You try to go out and sell, but you quit because you don’t feel like a salesperson.
You want to be more engaging, but you see yourself as shy.
You try to talk to new people, but you quit because you don’t see yourself as engaging.
You want to lose weight, but you see yourself as fat. You try to workout but you quit because you do not see yourself as healthy.
It is impossible to out-perform your self-image. If there is going to be lasting change, then you have to begin changing the way that you see yourself.
Lasting change can only come from identity-based habits.
Here’s a quick real-life story:
My son plays baseball and for the longest time he struggled with catching the ball. It would always hit the side of his glove. Whenever that happened, he would throw his glove down in anger and disgust.
In those moments he did not see himself as a baseball player. He saw himself as a failure. This reinforced his mind to keep doing the same thing he always did…not catch the ball. We decided that he needed some small wins.
He needed to hear the ball go into his glove so we stood close and played catch for awhile. I could see his confidence building so we went back to hitting pop-flys. This time I told him that he had to say, “I’ve got this” before I hit the ball to him.
He needed to hear himself reinforcing his identity as a baseball player. Self-talk is more important than we can imagine. He improved dramatically and he was actually thankful for the process. Now he has the tools to see himself as a baseball player.
What changes are you trying to make? What have you started and quit? Has this been a cycle for you?
You are who you believe you are. The work of lasting change begins with doing the things that make you successful, but they only last when they are tied to your identity. This is the necessary work of success. Give yourself small wins.
Here are some examples:
“ I will make my first sales call at 9:00 AM because I am a top performer.”
“I will dial 200 dials a day because that is what top performers do.”
“I will practice my presentation for 30 minutes at 8:00 AM because I am a closer.”
These are identity-based habits that have stickiness. If you want to win, you have to begin seeing yourself as a winner. You have what it takes. You just have to give yourself some small wins, cut yourself some slack, and be kind to yourself. If you can do this, over time you will begin to carve new neural pathways and see positive results.
If you have any questions about your sales or your business we would love to hear from you. To us, there is simply no such thing as a dumb question. We may have the answer for you but if we do not we will find it with you. You can reach us on any of our social media channels or you can email us at [email protected].