A young woman listens intently to ways she can change her behavior with more than tools, how to change your behaviorHow to change your behavior to live YOUR life to the fullest: Imagine you want to put on a different set of clothes, but you never took off the last outfit. Now, imagine you kept doing this, always adding new layers. Some of the outfits are fabulous, but they look pretty ridiculous with all that other stuff underneath. Eventually, you wouldn’t even fit in your normal size. And, it would be very, very difficult to use the restroom, which is a fairly crucial daily function.

This is what I picture when clients come to me and are like “What should I do?!” or “We/I need tools!”

How to Change Your Behavior: Undoing, Fixing, and Building New

 

Layers of Stuff

Tools are great – essential if you want to fix or build something.

But, fixing and building requires undoing before you can create the final product.

You have to remove the faulty, unnecessary stuff as well as anything blocking your way. Otherwise, you end up with so many layers of stuff; you can hardly see your original vision.

The “layers of stuff” that I am referring to aren’t actually outfits or construction materials.

I’m talking about the emotional and psychological stuff that we need to undo or unlearn when we talk about how to change your behavior.

It’s useless to hide the old stuff.

If we don’t undo them, growth and change are waaaay more sloppy. It’s that whole lipstick on a pig idea.

Let me get more specific…

  • Distorted beliefs – The Earth is flat or bad things shouldn’t happen.
  • Judgment of yourself and others – I suck, you suck, he/she/it sucks.
  • Holding tightly to people/experiences and things that have passed – Staying stuck in grief, resentment or the general past.
  • Behaviors that are used to avoid facing your shit – Basically, anything you can order from an app (Amazon, Tinder, Uber Eats, Monthly Wine Club, Facebook, Insta, etc.)

You get my point.

Learning How and What to Undo or Unlearn

So much of therapy is learning how and what to undo or unlearn rather than what to do.

Can you picture the last time you heard yourself say “I don’t know what to do.” or “What should I do?”

Well, no crap.

It’s tough to know what to do when you have so many layers blocking you from yourself!

#1 Recognize Negative Thoughts and Beliefs

Here are some examples of heinous and deleterious layers that wreak havoc if they aren’t undone, unprogramed or unlearned:

  • “I should’ve done something”
  • “I should’ve known better”
  • “I’m not good enough”
  • “I’m not safe”
  • “I don’t deserve it”
  • “I cannot trust anyone”
  • “I have to be perfect”
  • “I cannot get what I want”
  • “I cannot stand up for myself”

Again, you get my point.

These are all negative thoughts and beliefs that are blocking you from your true self.

#2 Undo Resistance

  1. To embody willingness, you have to undo resistance.
  2. To create trust you have to undo self-doubt.
  3. To improve communication, you have to undo criticism, judgement, mind reading and shutting down.

 

#3 Excavate the Old Stuff

When we have big BIG problems, we try to apply solutions.

But without excavating the old stuff, the solutions don’t stick.

Attempting a new healthy behavior without healing the old destructive one is like applying a band aid to a gun shot wound.

#4 Allow Your Crisis to Happen and Take Advantage of It

A crisis is the perfect time to learn how to undo or unlearn things that are blocking our success.

Crisis forces us to touch the things we avoid. Click To Tweet

 

It encourages us to explore what the heck is going on in our lives.

When you experience crisis, do you deal with the layers or scramble for band-aids?

#5 Practice Courage and Self-Awareness

Undoing stuff requires a lot of courage and self-awareness. If you have those things, are ready for some guidance, and want to find out how to change your behavior, hit me up.

And for those of you in my tribe who totally get me, I leave you with this epic quote from the master himself…

“You must unlearn what you have learned. ~Master Yoda”

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Dawn Wiggins
Dawn Wiggins is the founder and owner of Dawn Wiggins Therapy and Help Towards Hope. She knew she wanted to be a psychotherapist at the age of 12. Dawn is inspired to write about the things she experiences in her everyday life. She believes that her personal and professional experiences can help others overcome the same challenges. Her husband is her biggest fan and her go to editor-he is much better with grammar, punctuation and tenses!