How To Change Your Life – 5 Things To Do
To learn how to change your life you must understand how your identity is formed.
I attained a BA in Organizational Behavior & Communication from NYU, and during my course of study we examined how we develop as a people.
Our identities are developed through a powerful process that is greatly unconscious which saves us the headache of consciously trying to learn everything. This powerful process removes the “why” of learning and we just learn how to do things through modeling.
The difficult thing with this process is that if there are shortcomings in the person or persons you are modeling then you can easily inherit those shortcomings.
The good thing is that you are not only a sum of our experiences and you can become more than your experiences, but the reality is that many don’t become more than their experiences because they lack the tools to do so.
How To Change Your Life: Nurture Over Nature
Our core responses to the people we interact with and our environment becomes ingrained in us unconsciously as children. We learn these responses through mimicking and through our reactions with people and images we come in contact with. We are like sponges, we are like sheep in this way.
We get cues early on of when smiling, openness, kindness, exploration, introspection is supported; and when it is not, we learn negative responses. Depending on the child’s baseline, one child is more resilient than another in adverse situations.
As we grow, we build patterned responses to familiar situations. We build eating patterns, emotional patterns, mental patterns, and physical patterns in response to our environment.
These become ingrained patterns reinforced and supported by our emotions, mind, and body, and they form a cycle to keep the pattern going. For many, we become no more than a product of our experiences, unable to break the patterns our experiences have molded us out of.
Since we gain a core part of our pattern when we are children, we are learning mostly from the people who we are most around which is our family. Family traits are mostly passed on through modeling, not genetics.
But we can change…
How To Change Your Life: 5 Keys To Changing
- First understand how your identity was formed.
- Once you understand how your identity is formed, know or at least feel you can change who you are with work.
- Identify what you want to change and make a list, and decide what you want to replace it with.
- Distance yourself from the people who reinforce the current behavior you wish to change, whether that is family or friends.
- Hang around people who model the behavior you like and ask questions about how they handle particular situations and do the same or similar. (I remember growing up as a kid and there was a negative stereotype put on kids by other kids if a kid did something like another kid did, and even family members do it. In competitive societies many of us are taught to want to hold on to the better things for ourselves and discourage others from doing the same thing. We must ignore this. Find out how people achieve behavior and actions that you like. Talk to as many people as you can and incorporate what they do into your own life.)
We Can Change!
Yes we can change, but no one said change is going to be easy and we must embrace the difficulty of the journey.
Obstacles Towards Changing The Way We Eat
Once learning patterns have been established and we want to change something about us, it is difficult for many reasons.
Because of the complexity of the situation we may end up feeling like we can’t change, and many times we settle with “this is way I am supposed to be.”
Developing Bad Eating Habits
We first develop our taste for foods and how much or little we eat from what we are fed in our homes. The body becomes used to food it takes in, and mentally we become used to the foods we take in.
We need to be mindful that different foods have different effects on the body, because if you grew up eating in a different household in a different country your body would react and develop differently in that environment.
Now if you developed bad eating habits by eating a lot of processed foods, greasy foods, processed meats, soda, or ate meals late at night, you likely did these things because you were around family members who modeled this behavior or allowed it, or you could have done this as a way to cope with your stress.
Even though the body is a wonderful ecosystem and the body is made to heal itself from the natural foods we eat, we overburden it by eating foods that are full of fat, toxins, and bacteria.
We introduce toxins, bacteria, parasites, and viruses into our bodies through the foods we consume, air we breathe in, and alcohol we drink. Our organs become overwhelmed and can’t effectively filter out the toxins from our bodies. Bacteria, parasites, and viruses love a body full of fat, toxins, and sugar.
These foreign invaders consume substances such as sugar to produce acid as a by-product and help acidify the body, which is the environment they thrive in. This acidic environment is good for them, but it is bad for our organs and our health.
So once these bad bacteria and parasites grow and overwhelm the body, they want you to continue to keep consuming the bad things because that is what supports their life. As your body starts to slow down and your immune system is attacked, and you suffer from disease and a lack of energy, you may want to change.
Eating Healthy May Not Be An Easy Change
Now when you are ready to eat healthy and stop providing an environment that the bacteria, viruses and parasites thrive in, they are not going away without a fight. If they can’t find nutrients to feed on they will feed on cells, if they weren’t already, and cause disease.
Say you work on changing the environment in your body to one that removes toxins and alkalizes the body, parasites that cannot thrive in that environment and they can produce toxins to counteract this environment and cause you to feel sick at some point in the process. (You must continue on!)
They can trigger responses to make you crave for the harmful substances, which will help the harmful organisms to continue live and grow. So while you have internal things in your body that want to prevent you from changing, at the same time we have emotional and mental responses to your environment that also serve as obstacles to our ability to change.
We have been duped into eating many foods that weren’t once very bad but are now harmful and many of us are hooked on them. We eat meat and dairy that is loaded with fat, hormones and bacteria, and this meat and other processed foods are also loaded with additives, preservatives, and processed sugar that has a detrimental effect on our health.
Meat and even staple foods like cereal grains that appear to be the same as what we ate forty years ago aren’t the same. We have been conditioned to eat these foods because our parents ate these foods and they fed them to us.
The thing that has changed with these foods is that all the processing has made them harmful to us. But we like them and get addicted to them. The taste of them makes us feel good, and many of us eat these foods as a way to combat our stressful lives.
So we face an uphill climb in the battle to eat better. We have harmful organisms that may have taken over our bodies and exert their will to have us continue to eat in ways that are harmful to our bodies because they thrive in that environment.
So many foods are bad for us because they are processed and we may not be aware they are bad for us. Our family and friends eat these foods and encourage us to eat the same foods as they do. We eat harmful fatty and sweet foods as a way to cope with stress.
So How Do I Change The Way I Eat?
You may now understand that certain foods are bad for your body and cause illness, and you were eating this way slowly weakening the body over a long period of time.
At the point you realize how eating certain foods harm the body you have already established patterns in your body and mind that your natural programming wants to reinforce.
One thing I learned about change is that even though you may be doing something with your character that is not good for you, it is what you know how to do and there is comfort in that. Change can be scary because you may not know how to change what you are doing, or if changing will actually result in something that is better for you.
You don’t know if you can actually achieve the change you want because you have never done it before. Your identity is already built and you don’t know if you are capable of doing or being something else.
Changing your eating habits can be hard, but it is definitely possible. I have learned that usually something big has to happen in a person’s life to shock a person enough to disrupt their ingrained patterns, or their identity.
In order to enact change at this point, a systematic way of doing something different must be provided. You should have a support system to help guide and keep you on track, or at the least distance yourself from people who would serve as an obstacle to changing your eating habits.
No one said change was going to be easy, but the important thing to know is that change is possible and you have to go after it wholeheartedly!
Education is the key.
- Having an understanding of how you are developed and how to change your life is key.
- Having a knowledge of how and what foods are good and bad for you is key.
- Having knowledge that shows you how to use foods to strengthen you for healthy living is key.
- Having models of what you want to achieve is key.
- Having contact with people who walk their talk and who can show you how they were able to achieve what you want to achieve.
- Having a systematic way to approach changing the way you eat is key.
I love change and I embrace it. Change provides me with an opportunity to do something different, gain a different perspective and grow. I learned that you cannot change and grow by doing the same things, it is impossible!
You have to be willing to let things go and accept new things, or you will be forever in the same spot you are in. You have to be willing to learn new things and pick and choose what you want to keep for yourself.
Peace and Blessings be with you.
Image Courtesy of Happyologist
About Aqiyl Aniys: I eat a plant based diet and I am an avid researcher of the benefits of a whole food, plant based alkaline diet. I obtained a BA in Organizational Behavior and Communications from NYU, worked as an elementary school teacher, and have studied social work. I am a web designer/developer and I enjoy boxing, kick boxing, cycling, power walking, and basically anything challenging. Eating a plant based diet and exercising is a great way to achieve healthy living. ~ Natural Life Energy, where this article first appeared.