“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

Christopher Robin to Winnie-the-Pooh

If you’ve ever gone to a reunion, high school or other, or run into someone you haven’t seen since childhood, did it occur to you that, except for the inevitable signs of physical aging, that person is basically the same? And how about yourself? Are there things about you that haven’t changed since childhood or your teen years? Do you still have similar vices (food, perhaps), or similar patterns of behavior in response to stress or disappointment?

If you think that not only don’t people change, they can’t…well, you have plenty of company. A lot of us are convinced that we’re destined to follow the path of our parents, never to rise above the inadequacies of our childhood. We’ve persuaded ourselves that the mediocre grades we got in school that may have kept us from being admitted to a prestigious college will also forever keep us from getting the kind of job we really want. We’ve accepted that the shyness and insecurity we’ve carried since childhood will forever stand in the way of our happiness. On the other hand, the ways that might have brought confidence or success during childhood or young adulthood, just don’t seem to work anymore; yet that is all we know.

These beliefs, while usually wrong, are comforting and familiar. They are what we know. They are embedded in the neurons of our brain – our automatic brain (AB) – to serve as protection from the danger that lies beyond it—the uncomfortable, the unfamiliar. They took root during the AB’s developmental years, roughly the first 12 years of life. They are the excuses we reflexively fall back on when our latest diet has failed, or we’re faced with yet another failed relationship, or an unexpected bill arrives just as we thought we’d begun to get out of debt. Our AB is looking to protect us, so anytime we venture into the uncharted waters of life, that bundle of nefarious neurons is sure to do its utmost to get us to…fight or flee.

“OK, Dr. Glassman,” you may say, “I guess it is true – I can’t change. After all, every time I try, my AB will fire up and prevent it.” Ah, I respond, that’s true only if you believe, trust, and let this brain guide you. If you surrender to the influence of that AB, you are pretty much admitting that your life must be shaped by childhood experiences that now form the basis of your danger triggers. It doesn’t have to be so, though.

In my book, Brain Drain, I describe how following and believing in the AB drains us and prevents us from knowing our true self – our mind, which is spiritual and bold, vibrant and alive. Our mind is not controlled by the primitive, childhood brain that was developed before we had a say in the matter. In “Seven Days to Belief,” the final section of my book, I show the way to a belief in the ability of our mind to guide us. If you have my book, I suggest reviewing that section.

The first and most important step to take is to start believing in your ability to change lifelong patterns of behavior and thought. This is tantamount to recognizing that your AB is behind all the negative behavior and thought that’s held you back. Doing things the same, familiar way is comfortable, but it won’t get you where you want to go.

The AB looks to the past for signs of danger and projects into the future to keep you safe. I have always urged staying focused on the present, what is going on today. Thus, my second recommendation: Set goals. But be careful—setting long-term goals plays into the hands of the AB. Instead, create a few simple daily goals and review them every week or so. Here’s an example of the kind of goals I’m talking about:

o I will affirm when I wake up: “I believe in my ability to change.”

o I will take the time to slow down my breathing.

o I will be on time for my first appointment.

o I will replace an unhealthy snack with a healthy one.

o I will help at least one person today.

o I will smile at one new person today.

o I will say to myself at least three times today (even if you don’t yet fully believe it), “I love myself. I love my life.”

o I will listen to music today instead of dwelling on the news.

o I will find a reason to laugh today.

o I will keep a daily-magic journal today.

In order to implement change, you must believe that you can change and that you can adapt to changes around you. You must reject your primitive AB in favor of your mind, which is the gateway to personal power and true potential. As long as you move slowly, making the changes one day at a time, the magnitude of change will not appear overwhelming. In time, you will see yourself becoming full of life, passionate, and with the ability to keep things moving the right way. When you think about it, the change I am talking about is not change at all. It is nothing less than discovering the glory that has always been there, within you.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Glassman is the author of the critically acclaimed book, Brain Drain - the definitive guide to connecting mind, body, and spirit.
With his book, private practice, internet radio show, public appearances, weekly message and newsletter, hundreds of articles, and Coach MD, Dr. Glassman can show you what he has shown thousands of others: how to live a healthier, successful, and more abundant life.
Get started now with a free weekly message and chapters from Brain Drain at www.CharlesGlassmanMD.com