Tony Robbins says that love is the oxygen of the human soul, and he is spot-on! It’s
The Personal Development industry is expected to rise to fourteen billion dollars by next year. That is serious money, and it tells you that people are serious about wanting change. More money, more love, more health, and less weight. Clearly, people are willing to put their money where their mouth is in order to be happier. They buy books and online courses; some even hire coaches. But despite all the money and all the effort, the change they create is rarely ever permanent. New ways of doing things fall by the wayside. Diets and gym memberships are abandoned. Expensive vitamins are shelved. I’m reminded of those contestants on the TV show, The Biggest Loser, who worked so very hard, yet within a couple of years, every last one of them had gained back every ounce they had lost. As frustrating and disappointing as it may seem, there is a very simple reason why things go back to the way it was before, and thankfully there is an easy way to change it.
You only experience the world through the framework of your existing beliefs. In fact, every single experience you have is the result of a belief in your mind. Beliefs are powerful. They are much more than just mere mental concepts; they are physical manifestations in the brain in the form of neural connections. When you think a thought often enough, the nerve fibers in your brain that are involved in that particular thought physically begin to reach out to one another to form bridges, so-called synaptic connections. Once these nerve bridges are formed, thought energy travels along those lines habitually. It’s like the road that you drive to get to the grocery store. There might be another way of getting there, but you take the one you're used to taking. Once a belief has been formed, your thinking in that area becomes set. It becomes the way you see the world, which then also determines your experience in that regard. That's why it's so hard to create any kind of real change in your life. While you may sincerely want to change a certain condition, your beliefs and your thinking are still running along the same old roads they've always taken, so it's no wonder you always end up in the same place.
Let's use the example of weight loss since it is such a ubiquitous problem. Billions of dollars are spent on diets and weight loss strategies. Your Facebook feeds are full of experts nobody has ever heard of, promising new insights on why your last diet didn’t work! It was the wrong foods at the wrong time, your hormones, or the wrong exercise routine. While I certainly encourage everyone to do their research and find a healthy balanced diet and exercise routine that is right for them I'm also telling you that no weight loss strategies can or will work unless you first change your self-image. In other words, unless you change what you think and believe about yourself all diets are useless!
Here’s why: Your body is an extremely sophisticated system programmed to maintain itself within very strict parameters. Blood pressure, chemicals, and hormones are all constantly monitored and adjusted to the best of the body’s abilities. Your body temperature is set at 96.3 degrees. If you get too hot and your core temperature rises, your body responds immediately. We find sweating annoying but just think of the sophisticated processes that must take place for your body to sense the rising temperature, sound the alarm, gather liquid from wherever it can inside your body, and then push it out through the pores in order for the air to cool you back down. Your body also has set parameters for your weight, which are determined by your thought about yourself.
When you go on a diet, your body neither knows nor cares that you're simply trying to fit into that new bikini; it thinks something is seriously wrong! If the diet goes on long enough to the point where you’re losing actual substance, your body considers it a real emergency. At first, it will simply send you hunger signals. “Eat, for God's sake! We're dying down here!” When that doesn't work, your body will send cravings for higher-calorie foods to rectify the situation. Haven't you ever noticed that the moment you decide to go on a diet, you're hungrier than ever? Doughnuts started looking good, even if you normally don’t even eat donuts! That's simply your body's survival mechanism doing its best to keep up the calories. If you keep insisting on your diet, the body will go into overdrive. It will slow your metabolism, trying to use the measly supply of calories more efficiently. You could gain weight on a lettuce leaf! Finally, when none of these strategies work, your body comes at you through your subconscious. That's the time when hapless dieters find themselves with their heads buried in the refrigerator, eating whole pints of ice cream. Later, they berate themselves and wonder why on God's earth they did it, without any idea that they are fighting their very own body’s efforts of trying to keep them from starving to death.
No diet can possibly work in the long run unless you first change the body’s internal parameters about your weight. Long before you change your eating habits, you must change your mind; you must stop thinking of yourself as fat; otherwise, you’re just banging your head against a cement wall. The funny thing is, that once you've successfully changed your mindset about your weight, diet becomes a moot point because now your body will do all in its considerable power to move and keep you within the new parameters. You suddenly won’t feel hungry; your metabolism will speed up, the weight will drop off of you, and it must stay off – because the new parameters are gospel!
The question is, how can you change your mind when you haven’t yet experienced the reality you’re trying to create? You can study the piano and practice every single day, and you will eventually create new neural pathways, but how do you practice having more money? How do you practice being skinnier? How do you practice being in a blissful relationship with the love of your life when you have no idea what that kind of love actually feels like? Turns out, there is a powerful way to create the necessary synaptic changes before the actual change, and it’s called visualization.
Visualization is the practice of imagining yourself once your final goal has occurred. It is a scientifically proven method to create changes in synaptic connections in the brain. Athletes have been using visualization to improve their performances for quite some time. Scientific studies have found that the same nerve centers fire whether an athlete is visualizing a routine or whether he is actually, physically doing it. The mind cannot distinguish between a physical reality and an imagined one. In this way, improvement can take place even though the athlete is not yet physically able to perform at the new higher level. Visualization is the way to get you there.
The more real and immersive you can make the process of visualization, the quicker your brain will be able to build synaptic connections. We’re not all visually oriented; some people are more auditory, and some are kinetic. A scent, for example, creates a powerful sense-memory in nearly everyone. Use whatever is your most powerful influence to make the scene as real as possible. Imagine yourself having achieved your desired outcome; see yourself but also imagine the sounds and smells and the physical sensations you will feel. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, imagine how you will feel when you achieve your desire. Feel the gratitude, joy, confidence, and competence you will feel when you arrive. Emotions are perhaps the most powerful component to create lasting synaptic connections. Sometimes an emotion alone can be strong enough to have a permanent influence on your mind.
Visualization usually doesn’t work immediately. It takes practice, and there are two reasons. Firstly, the act of visualization itself is new to you, and it will take some time to learn to use all your senses for an immersive experience. Secondly, you don’t yet have a frame of reference for the goal you are trying to envision. After all, that’s why you are trying to visualize it in the first place. But I promise you, with diligent practice, you will get there! Be patient with yourself, but please stick with it! It’s literally like riding a bicycle - with practice, you won’t fall anymore off anymore, and eventually, you’ll become a champ at it. Repetition is key. I recommend doing a visualization of your goal at least twice a day, once in the evening when you go to sleep and then again when you wake up in the morning when you’re very relaxed. Visualization doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process. Five to ten minutes is more than enough. Such a small effort to impact your mind so that the change you want becomes permanent! Visualizing works on all goals, big and small, and it can work very quickly. In fact, the time it takes to create a successful, permanent change in your life depends entirely on your diligence and ability to build the necessary synaptic connection in your mind. Change does not have to take years or months; it can happen in just days!
One caveat: everybody seems to want more money, so people have often tried using visualization to create greater abundance, and it has created some problems for them. When people want more money it is usually because they are so painfully aware that they don’t have enough of it. So, when they try to visualize themselves swimming in a pool of abundance, their thoughts are hijacked by their fear of not making ends meet. Instead of thinking of what they want, they think about what they don’t have. Fear is a very powerful emotion, and so oftentimes, it becomes the prevailing thought that drowns out all the others, the existing synaptic connections for the lack, rather than building new ones for abundance.
Lastly, I want to talk about my favorite subject: If you are looking for the love of your life and are unsuccessful it is because your old beliefs are getting in the way. Perhaps you're unconsciously still thinking about your ex. (That’s what happened to me!) Or maybe you remember the pain when someone cheated on you. If it keeps happening that people you meet and like, are suddenly ghosting you, perhaps you simply feel like you’re too old, and deep down, you fear that nobody would want you the way you are. It is always your current beliefs that are creating your current experience. Please take heart! I promise you that your perfect lover is still out there, but they won’t just show up by accident. I know you hate to hear it, but you must do the work; otherwise, you’re just doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome. Please go and 1) Read the book, The List Method. 2) Complete the workbook and make your List. 3) Use the two visualizations I’ve provided for you at the link above.
You can be, do, and have anything you want, but in order to create change, you must first change your mind. So, visualize the life and love of your dreams, and then step boldly forward into your new reality!