Are You DOING Life, or Are You Doing LIFE?

It all depends where you place the emphasis on the words to grasp the meaning of this repeated title. Ask yourself--are you both the prisoner and the jailer of your days? Or, do you allow yourself the freedom to consciously design and live your life to your ideal expectations? I do not know if you have thought about your life in those terms, but there is a very fine line between self-imprisonment and freedom. Sometimes, just doing one thing different or reframing a thought about a situation can make a huge impact for the better in your life.

Another way of phrasing this would be to ask if you are the ‘cause and effect’ of your daily activities, or do you continue in your same old routine—not really feeling happy—perhaps feeling miserable—but for certain, feeling incapable of making any positive shifts or adjustments. If your answer is the latter— then by default, you are still the cause and effect of your experiences; it is just not cause and effect in a GOOD way. Just as ‘deciding not to make a decision’ is a decision in itself, taking no action, or repeating the same harmful action is really an action in and of itself. Maybe it helps your understanding to think about it in the terms of this old adage: “If you always do what you always did—you’ll always get what you always got”.

On many occasions, the way we live life gets in the way of our experience and enjoyment of life we long to live. Psychology tells us that the unconscious mind controls 90-95% of our behaviors and thoughts. We are captives of our past and at times, we may find it impossible to move beyond the old tapes that are continuously recycling in our unconscious mind. We are stuck—we are fearful—we are lazy. We may consciously despise the situation we are in, but feel powerless to change it; and then we berate ourselves for not having the self-discipline to make the change that in turn, would create a shift in our life experience. We become our own worst enemy--the perpetrator and the victim of our personal human condition. Wow! What a way to live. It sounds like a death sentence, doesn’t it?

Okay—I apologize for that paragraph of negativity. However, I wanted to grab your attention. The reason I wanted your attention is because we all share, in one form or another, this problem. None of us is immune to the devastating tapes trapped in our unconscious mind—but the good news is that we can learn to ignore those tapes, move past the fears, overcome the ambivalence or laziness, and CHANGE. Here is a quick overview of why old habits and patterns keep coming back and how to move beyond the harmful past behavior and into the positive present.

The unconscious (John Bradshaw referred to it as the inner child) has a stake in maintaining the past. Scientifically, we know that all parts of our mind/body strive for balance (homeostasis). Mind and body constantly adjust themselves to our life script to find that balance. New thoughts or new behaviors mean more work for all parts of our existence and that means moving out of our comfort zone, and into temporary insecurity. The unconscious (like a small child) does not like to feel insecure or uncomfortable, so it makes its demands to live as it has always lived and to continue replaying its old tapes or reciting its old scripts. It throws an internal temper tantrum and creates what appear to be very good rationalizations for procrastination, or even complete abandonment of the change we want to make. However, the rationalizations are like the magician’s smoke and mirrors; they are only illusions created by the unconscious to keep homeostasis in our mind and in our life. Once the illusions fade, we once again face the frustration of repeating the harmful thoughts and actions that keep us in the bondage of the past.

What do we do? The unconscious is a powerful foe. Throughout its years of living inside of us, it develops tactics that cause self-sabotage in the best of us. We have all tried affirmations and New Year’s resolutions, but they begin to fade and lose their appeal after a week or two. Most of us just do not have the self-discipline to make them a new habit. The unconscious saboteur presents its array of rationalizations; our good intentions end; and we say to ourselves “I just can’t do it” or “It’s just not meant to be”. We buy into the trickery of the unconscious mind and our life returns to the way it has always been.

However, what would happen if we could get over that one or two-week hump and carry out our new behaviors, thoughts, or beliefs for just one more week? What would happen if we could stay conscious and disciplined for 21-days (three weeks) instead of one or two weeks? Three weeks—21 days—of self-discipline seems to be the magic number for creating lasting positive change in our life.

Research, first presented in the book Psycho-Cybernetics (Maltz, 1960 and 2001, tells us that it takes about 21 days to initiate change within the human psyche and within the cellular memory-banks of mind/body. This means that if you want to change your lifestyle or eliminate a bad habit, and you CONSISTENTLY behave, think, or react in a new way for a period of three weeks, you will be well on your way to creating new life-paths of health, happiness, or well-being. Since 1960 many health, psychological, hypnosis, business, and military programs have built their formats for success around that 21-day rule. My own CD series, Hypno-Imagery Journeys uses this same 3-week protocol.

3 weeks does not seem like a long period of time when we talk about it in generalities, however, when we commit to discipline and consistency for a 3-week period, it can seem like an eternity. Not only are we fighting a battle for change, we are also waging a war with our unconscious. We need to be smarter and more disciplined than our unconscious saboteur is.

Here are 5 tips to help you survive that initial 3-week period.

1. Go back to our prison metaphor—what is a common coping skill used by someone who is incarcerated? Prisoners are known to get a calendar and cross off each day until they regain their freedom—their release date. When you are attempting to change a habit, work ethic, belief, negative thinking—whatever it may be, cross off each calendar day that you have stayed the new course. At the end of 21 days do something special for you to celebrate the occasion.

2. Enlist the help of a good friend and ask them to help you with accountability. In essence, they become your life coach. You check in with them on a daily basis and if you have followed through with discipline and consistency, you win their praise. If you have experienced a setback, ask them to encourage you to try again and to keep you motivated for the 21-day period.

3. Use a form of cognitive therapy to re-frame your goal. For example—instead of seeing your transformation as hard work, focus on the positive results you will achieve. Let your mind envision the new and improved you. Then allow yourself to feel the pride and confidence you possess because you made the shift or change in your life.

4. Forgive yourself and forgive your past. Sometimes our self-sabotage is a way to punish ourselves for something that we have done or that was done to us. Remember, we all make mistakes—our parents may have parented us the way that they were parented—sometimes, bad things do happen to good people. What matters is who you are NOW, in this very moment. If you are taking the time to read this, I know you are worthy and deserving of all the best life has to offer—it is your birthright!

5. Act as if the shift has already occurred. Speak of yourself as having made the shift or change. Talk about what you are doing and how you are doing it. Make yourself accountable to the follow through! Offer your support to others who might want to follow your example.

Whatever it is—if you are cognizant of the problem, you have the ability to change it. Give yourself the gift of the “get out of jail” card. Start “doing” and LIVING your life instead of doing and living a life sentence of unwanted negative repetition.

Author's Bio: 

Before relocating to North Carolina in 2011, Dr. Janolyn Moore owned and served as co-director of the Golden Branch Wellness Center in Woodland Hills, California. Her Golden Energy technique of healing grew from her interest and years of research of mind/body correlations to disease and healing. The result, Golden Energy, accomplishes all of the aspects needed to promote a total holistic healing experience. Subtle energy work combined with psychology, imagery, and hypnotherapy assist in removing physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual blocks to the healing process. Her approach enables her patients to experience better health and well-being, increased success in all aspects of life, and to experience better and more fulfilling relationships.

Dr. Moore's integrative practice augments traditional Western medicine and psychological approaches to accelerate the healing process. It helps improve the quality of life for those who experience physical illness, chronic pain, or emotional or mental problems.

Dr. Moore served as a staff member for ten years at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in California. She facilitated group psychological counseling for both the in-patient and out-patient Behavioral Health unit. She served as a member of the hospital's Integrative Medicine team and taught classes in hypnosis, guided imagery, mind/body heath, and a holistic approach to managing menopause for the Healing Arts program. As well, she facilitated cancer support groups and provided counseling for patients in the Oncology unit.

In 2004, Dr. Moore was voted best hypnosis professional for the greater Los Angeles area by the readers of the Los Angeles Daily News.

Dr. Moore is an accomplished teacher, published writer, public speaker and seminar leader. She teaches her holistic approach to healing to medical and mental health practitioners throughout the country.

Dr. Moore's clientele extends throughout North America and Europe. As well as combined energy sessions, she offers integrative mind/body counseling, hypno-imagery, and expressive arts therapy. Phone sessions are available and very popular. Each session is 1/12 to 2 hours in length and is recorded in either an MP3 or CD format for the patient so that they may continue to experience the benefits of the session at any time.

Dr. Moore holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Depth Psychology, from Pacifica Graduate Institute, in Carpinteria, California. Additionally, she holds a BA and MA in speech communications. She is a certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and studied Oriental medicine at Samra University.

Dr. Moore is available for private sessions, public speaking engagements, or seminars. To contact her for more information or to request a session, please use the email request form found on the Golden Energy web site.