Changing What You Do Versus Changing How You Think

Changing how you thinkPlay an imagination game with me.

One day, you buy a product that teaches you how to do some sexy thing.

(Our sexy thing is about launches, by the way, so if you’re into that, you might want to throw us some of your money later this month.)

So you now have this product.

It teaches you all these new things which sounded really good when you’re reading the sales page, but when it comes time to actually do them, you get indecisive and you think it’s going to be hard and your daily routines get in the way and you resist change.

Then you’re sitting around on your thumbs until the next big sexy product comes out. And the cycle continues. Because that’s your habit.

You think to yourself, “I’d sure like to change that habit, but I don’t know how.” (Or, if we’re honest, you think “What the hell is wrong with me?”) The habit seems to have a hold on you, and doesn’t seem particularly interested in letting you transform it into something better.

If this feels less like an imagination game at this point and more like your real life, perhaps this might help you make the new year a bit of a fresh start.

One way I’ve found that makes habit transformation a little easier is transforming yourself first.

If you change the way you think – and I’m firmly in the camp of believing that change does not have to take a long time, which is an existing belief I have that is supplemented by seeing it in students every week – changing what you do is actually a bit of a cakewalk.

You don’t simply get stuck in a pattern because it’s habitual. You get stuck for a large part because on a level your beliefs make that habit inevitable.

Simple example that we see a lot in clients. If you believe that people unsubscribing from your list is a threat to your business, the inevitable habit is going to be to not mail so much. You tell yourself you should mail more, but you’re afraid. You resist.

Once you learn that unsubscribes are actually okay – because they’re people who weren’t going to buy from you / want to hear from you anyway – and that means your list will cull itself down to fans and buyers – the belief changes. Unsubscribes aren’t threatening anymore. And it’s amazing how much easier it is to getting around to mailing your list.  You may even find the idea motivating.

The same thing applies to learning.

If you believe that finding the time to go through class material is too hard, or that it’s going to be too much work, or that it won’t make a difference anyway because you suck, well … those beliefs lead to their own inevitable habits.

But think about the things you do make time for, or put work into, or that do make you feel like you’re making a difference … taking action on those isn’t nearly as hard.  Probably because your beliefs about the things you are doing are different than the beliefs you have about the things you aren’t doing.

So if you could change some of your beliefs about learning and applying what you learned, your habits might change all by themselves.

If you become the kind of person who honestly loves learning new things, learning how to launch something properly just isn’t that daunting anymore. It’s actually kind of fun. It’s energizing. And in this climate, energizing is a feeling most people could use a lot more of.

So the reason none of those books and blog posts and webinars never changed anything is because you didn’t change.

The same old you walked into the webinar, and the same old you walked out.

Transform yourself, and you’ll transform the experience.

I see it every day. Several people who took our most recent class have been IttyBiz students since 2008. For a long time, they came to the classes and really wanted transformed businesses and really wanted more money and really wanted more success. But nothing was really happening.

But somewhere along the line – probably around the Let’s Fix Your Business class in the spring, maybe because it was so intensive or because the homework was so grueling – they changed. They transformed.

And because of that, they started getting the results they’d been searching for. And the reason the search never worked was because they were searching outside for something that had to happen inside.

Maybe they did the homework and there was just so much they had to do that they were able to finally relieve themselves of the notion that they had to search. Maybe the process was so exhausting that they simply didn’t have the energy to search anymore and they just got over themselves and changed. I don’t know.

What I do know is that you can’t change how you think until you decide you want to change how you think.

Until you ask yourself, “Could I change how I think about this? Can I imagine ways that other people change how they think about this?  Could it be easier than I currently believe it is?”

So today, consider how you might like to transform yourself in the year ahead. It’s possible. And it’s easier than searching.

About the author: Naomi Dunford started IttyBiz in 2006. In her free time, she likes to… ha! Free time. You’re adorable. Learn more about her here and catch up with her on Twitter or Facebook.