Possibility Warrior

Lighting The Way Forward

Julie Hoy, PhD

How to Change Your Mind


In an earlier post, I told you that to be happy, you have to change your mind.  But how do you change your mind?

A little at a time.

You take a single action.  Maybe you feel nothing and you think it isn’t working, that it won’t work, that it can’t work, that the action is pointless.  But you decide to try again anyway and you take that single action again.  And again.  And again.  A week or two (or a month or two) later, you suddenly realize you are feeling a bit better!  You wonder if it is coincidence or if it has anything to do with that single action you are taking on a regular basis.

You keep up with that single action.  A couple more weeks (or months) go by and you notice enough of a difference to be convinced that what you are doing is helping.  If you forget to take your single action, you notice yourself slipping back into old patterns.  You start up your single action again, and this time you notice results more quickly.

You repeat your single action until it becomes more of a habit.  You take up another action.  The second action feeds on the first and so you notice more effect more quickly, though it all still takes weeks (or months) to really show itself.  But your brain slowly starts catching on that you are creating a new rhythm here.  And so you add a third action, and you try to stick with the first two.  You realize that you are starting to enjoy your new habits because they are making your life a little more pleasant.  The more you enjoy them, the more inclined you are to do them.  The more you do them, the more they stick with you, and the easier it is to do them without forcing yourself to remember.

Then there’s the day that the new action becomes your default reaction!  You realize you’re now a different person than you were 6 months (or a year) ago.  You really like who you are.  You really like who you are becoming.  So you add another action and reinforce the actions you’ve already taken.  People in your life are noticing the difference in you.  Challenges are becoming a bit easier to tackle.  You don’t fall apart quite as quickly.  You recover more resiliently.  You’re less easily thrown off kilter.

And so you climb the mountain of happiness.  Zig, zag, round, around, step by step by upward step.  Sometimes you rest, sometimes you stumble and slide down a bit, but there’s no question now that you are climbing that mountain and headed for the summit.

And it all started with that single action.


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