Every day we all face our battles. They can take many forms and not one of us is spared. Every day for me, starts with an interesting battle. It’s an internal battle, but it’s also one I watch. And every time there is a winner. Whether that winner is good for me is another question, but every battle has a winner.
Allow me to share this battle and the strategy that works for me…. well, most days anyways.
Inside all of us we have ingrained habits that are wired into our brain. Operating automatically within us, the quality of our behaviours and actions are dependent on these hard-wired habits. They can be good, or they can be bad for us.
Every day we face the battle of our actions not aligning with our goals and dreams. It’s the tale of the many, the many who cannot get moving to become their best version. And it’s a battle you can win by choosing to listen to the best version of you.
People ask me how long it takes to change a habit. There are a number of theories and a number of supporters of these theories on how long it takes to change a habit. The problem I see is that we can replace a bad habit, but not erase it completely. It remains wired in, with the ever-present danger of returning when we regress. This is proven within the studies of conditioning. Good habits replace bad habits, but bad habits can be refired when we regress.
Instead think that good habits occur daily. It’s a daily choice we make.
Let me help you with the story one of my daily battles that rages inside of me.
I wake at 5am and have done so for the best part of the last seven years. This is my time that I spend with my wife, getting our morning walk in and getting our day off to the best possible start.
Every morning, when that alarm goes off the FIRST thought that comes into my head is URRRGGGGGGG!
Admittedly, the URRRGGGGGG comes at varying levels, but the reality is, it’s still there. The first thought, every morning! After the best part of seven years, the old brain still fires off the “Oh no” signal. “Stay in bed, Tony. You need your rest.”
After seven years! And sometimes it wins.
Most times, however my strategy wins.
I detach myself from me. Or more specifically, I detach myself from the sub-standard version of me.
Inside all of us we have created our own environment. A competitive environment with a battle as fierce as you would see on any playing field. Our conditioning and circumstances have created this intense battlefield. And in the arena we have a number of different versions of ourselves. At the very least, we have our greatest version of us squaring off against the sub-standard version. Take a minute to reflect on that. Our greatest version and our sub-standard version, in a battle for you.
Our greatest version knows what’s best. It wants you to apply your best knowledge to your actions to create the best version of you. Unfortunately, it is usually the more silent one within most of us, but wants what is best for us in the longer term as it knows we will be happiest in that place. We know it’s there, we just don’t listen to it.
The sub-standard one wants what is best for us NOW. It wants instant gratification, instant reward. It’s the one that tells you to stay in bed. It’s the one that advises you the couch is better that going for a walk. It’s the one that keeps you bound to your current circumstances. It’s usually the one we listen to, even though we shouldn’t.
Every morning these two versions of me, are pitted against themselves in a great battle of will. When that out-dated and substandard version cries out URRRGGGGG, the best thing is does for me, is wake me from my slumber and forces me into action and, importantly, a choice.
After the initial emotional response, that choice comes into my conscious being and with it comes another decision to be made. It is here that I detach myself from me. I make the choice to listen to the best version of me. He is standing just a little away, because it’s already jumped out of bed and getting into his walking gear. It looks over with that look of “What’s keeping you?”
And with that I get up, out of bed, leaving the out-dated version wallowing as the pitiful thing that it is. But it hasn’t given up. Oh no! Once I am out the door, it starts up its whinging and whining. “It’s too cold man” It feels every little ache and pain, and absolutely lets me know about it. “What are we doing this for, wouldn’t you rather be in bed?” But the best version is the one I listen to and that old version becomes background noise and I charge on.
The mornings are good for me. I exercise, I eat a healthy breakfast and it’s also when I am at my most creative. I write, read and listen. I get a really good 3-hour window to be creative and productive before I face the reality of the day, of appointments, sessions and meetings.
None of that would happen if I had listened to the out-dated version of me. Creating time pressure and stress by not getting done what I love and want to do. The best version of me knows that time is valuable to me, the out-dated version wants to waste it by staying in bed.
We have the beauty of conscious thought. We have the power of consciousness. We have the ability to move from emotionally based decisions to rational based choices to power-on to be the best version, and while the emotional response is always first, our rational choice isn’t that far behind and we can put that emotional response back to bed.
There are times when you face the same choices. Take heed of what that out-dated version of you is telling and choose to ignore it. Let it become background noise and choose to listen that version of you that wants the best things for you. The one that takes your knowledge for what’s best for you, and turn it into action.