- Thoughts for inspired living

January 3, 2018

Growing Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Morgan @ 7:31 am

NewImageHere’s a New Year’s remembrance from many New Years ago:

Growing up is really growing out, or better put – Outgrowing.

Many people are “bound and determined” to make changes in the New Year. That sounds a bit like constipation to me.

The change that is necessary for us to make changes is to outgrow our response to the stimulus that causes us to react with undesired behavior.

Weight loss is the biggest New Year’s goal. The reason most people fail to keep off the weight they lose is because they never offer themselves the opportunity to outgrow their reaction to a stimulus.

Sometimes this change happens naturally and sometimes we have to give it a nudge. Here’s the story I often tell about natural outgrowth . . .

My father’s union had a Christmas Party each year for all the kids. We got to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what we wanted for Christmas, and each child received a gift that day. When I was in first grade, I was anxious to get on Santa’s lap and make my requests. When I was in second grade, Santa began to resemble my father’s friend, Mr. Ferguson. I sat on his lap anyway because I didn’t want to miss out on asking for what I wanted in case it really was Santa. When third grade rolled around, I knew it was Mr. Ferguson and there was no way I would sit on his lap.

What happened here? The stimulus, Mr. Ferguson was the same each year; it was my response that had changed, and it happened quite naturally without any conscious effort on my part.

The little nudge technique is worthy of your attention. It’s an exercise I learned from the late Dr. Dave Dobson. He called it a “Subjective reversal.” That means the stimulus (subject) would reverse your response to something more useful.

The technique begins by rehearsing yourself in some calm and collected feelings. That means to find a time in your mind when you were totally calm and collected. It may have been 10 minutes ago or 30 years ago, it really doesn’t matter. Just find a time you were calm and notice what that calm feels like in your body. Rehearse this technique over and over again until you can feel calm feelings in your body.

Next bring to mind the stimulus that triggers unwanted feelings or behaviors. When you begin to feel those reactive feelings in your body, switch yourself to feeling calm and collected. Remember: This is your imagination; you can do anything you want with it. Do this exercise over and over again until you can switch from the reactive feelings to the calm and collected feelings in a second or two.

The natural offshoot of this repeated rehearsal is that you automatically begin to switch from the reactive feeling to the calm and collected feelings without having to consciously throw the switch. That means that the stimulus now automatically triggers calm and collected feelings. And remember: When you are calm and collected, you make much better choices.

This is outgrowing the old way and growing into a new way without binding yourself to a plan that has failed every time you have used it in the past.

If you have the ability to outgrow the goofy clothes you wore as a teenager, you can outgrow anything.

Happy New Year!


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