I was interviewed by a potential client today. He asked me how my coaching clients were actually able to change their behavior. He wanted to know how they stopped a behavior they no longer wanted to do, or started a behavior they wanted to incorporate into their repertoire. Our behaviors can be so engrained. I know mine are after 50+ years on this Earth.
I gave him a list of things I do to support my clients to make the changes they want to make. I also gave him a list of things I do to support myself to make the changes I want to make. Sometimes the lists are different; sometimes they’re the same. And the lists are good, and instructive.
But I realized that sometimes what it really takes to change a behavior – to stop doing something – is just to stop doing it. It’s as simple as that.
We could – all right, I could – spend a great deal of time talking about how hard it is to change, or I could change. I could use up my energy discussing and debating how entrenched my thought patterns are. I could ruminate over how little control I have over what I think, and sometimes over what I do and how I react. Or I could simply stop doing what I’ve been doing and stop getting stuck in the thoughts I’ve been getting stuck in. I may not be able to keep them from coming up, but I do have a choice over what I do with them. Do I fuel the fire and keep them going? Do I talk them over and over (and over) with people around me? Or do I simply stop? Do I distract myself, or reward myself for moving in a different direction?
These are all options I have, choices I can make. Instead of arguing for my limitations, I can stop doing the things I’ve been doing that are no longer working for me…and start doing something else.
So, stop it!
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