We all know our brain has a lot to do with our behaviors. If this is so, why can't we just decide to change, and then do it? We do control our brains, right? Well, right and wrong.

It is much easier to change a pattern if we understand a few things about how the brain works that are not well known. The most important thing to recognize is that the brain is designed to conserve energy. It takes less energy to run an old brain pattern (a habit!) than to set up a new one. So we all have a tendency to just continue to do the same old things in the same old way.

On the other hand, if you do want some new patterns (habits) this is possible. Here are 9 strategies that may help in establishing new behaviors so they eventually become old patterns.

Strategy 1. Move the new behavior from a thought to a visual reminder. Write down the pattern you want to install on postits and glue them all around whereever you spend your time. If others will see these, you may use abbreviations or symbols to confuse the onlookers. You can write on your bathroom mirror, put notes on your refrigerator door, in your desk drawer,on the dashboard of your car,and in the corner of your computer screen. I have heard there is an app for having this pop up on your computer screen, but you will have to find that for yourself. Good way to be sure you are serious about this change.

Strategy 2. First thing every morning, you must visualize success. If you want to weigh less than you do now, see yourself the exact size you want to be in your mind's eye. Pretend the change has already happened and enjoy the feeling of success.

Strategy 3. This one you need a pen and paer to complete. This takes about ten minutes and, be assured, this is important. Write down what you will see, hear, and feel when your goal is reached. You must write down 5 things you will see, 5 things you will hear, and 5 things you will feel once you have attained your outcome. This exercise gives your brain the keys to helping you attain this outcome. The sensory data assists the brain in choosing what to pay attention to in the world around you as you proceed through your day. This step is equivalent to the "Open sesame" of the fairy tale...an almost magical step that utilizes the physiology and capabilities of your own brain.

Strategy 4. Make a pact with a friend. Report in as often as you need to about how you are doing. Talk about your successes and if necessary, your failures. Be up front and honest in your assessments to your friend. Select a friend who will be supportive of your efforts.

Strategy 5. if you need to set aside time for your new behavior, make an appointment with yourself and write it down in your appointment calendar. If you miss an appointment, write down your excuse. Keep tabs on this. If you are on a diet, keep a notebook of what you eat. Be consistent and review this often.

Strategy 6. You can create a skin "button" on the inside of your wrist that will allow you to experience the joy of success anytime you wish. You set up this "button" mentally by visualizing the finished product..your goal in technicolor. You may use Strategy 3 content for this button.

Simply touch your right wrist with your left forefinger as you visualize the picture of you as your completed project. See it, hear it, feel it. This button can be activated anytime you wish. Use it often.

Strategy 7. The power of a visual image is largely unknown. Your image of success is like a lighthouse keeping you on track through the shoals of past behaviors. Visualize your success (with the button or without) as often as you think of it. Several times a day would be about right. Before you go to sleep and when you first wake up are good times to see your goal in color. You might even add a trumpet call or martial music to the image.

Strategy 8. Be realistic. A small, teensy tinsy improvement a day is ideal. Change takes time. Be easy on yourself. Compassion for self is an excellent thing to keep in mind when you are in a change process. Too much too fast and you will slide back. Slow and easy does it.

Strategy 9. Forgive yourself your lapses. Take one hand and pat yourself on the opposite shoulder when you do stick to your plan for change. Change is hard. Do not believe anyone who disagrees. Just reading over these 9 strategies is a hard task. You have already done that. You are on your way. Congratuate yourself now.

Author's Bio: 

Genie Z. Laborde, Ph. D. has a doctoral degree in Gestalt Psychology and Education. Gestalt Psychology is the study of perceptions and how these perceptions shape our lives. She has experienced many changes in her life. Some she meant to do and some that simply happened.
An internationally known author, seminar leader, artist and change agent, her seminars have been experienced by over 50,000 people in 16 different countries. Her book, "Influencing with Integrity" has sold over 151,000 copies in 7 languages. She enjoys change.