Four Criteria that Will Help:
by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer –
When you’re ready to make a change in your life, to break a lifelong pattern that is holding you back, one necessary ingredient you’ll need is a solid, rational reason for that change. Your desire to break any ingrained habit needs to be paired with a solid reasoning process that registers with you and helps counteract the hidden benefits of staying stuck. Ask yourself: Can I create a rational reason to change?
Criterion #1: It Must Make Sense
Changing old habits cannot and will not happen if it doesn’t strike you as a sensible thing to do. It doesn’t really matter that everyone you know tells you how important it is to change—if it doesn’t make sense to you, then you’ll retreat to your old ways. If the answer to Do I really want to bring about this change? is yes, then that’s all you need in order to proceed and succeed. But if you have any doubts whatsoever, you’ll revert back to your long-held habits.
For example, when I was in my 30s, I made the decision that I was no longer going to continue the unhealthy habits that had dominated my life up until that point. I could see myself gaining weight around the middle, eating and drinking things that weren’t good for me, and generally not paying the proper attention to the well-being of this temple that temporarily houses my soul.
One day in 1976, I began a regimen that included exercise, drinking lots of water, taking supplements, and improving my diet. Although no one around me fully understood my drive to stay in shape, it made sense to me. Whenever anyone has told me over the years that they just don’t understand why I’m so “compulsive” about my health habits, I always think: If I didn’t have a healthy body, I wouldn’t have anywhere to live. Because my lifestyle makes sense to me, I’m immune to others’ questioning and I’m never tempted to reverse my decision to live as healthful an existence as I possibly can.
Criterion #2: It Must Be Doable
Within you is a private space where “no visitors are allowed.” This is where you meet yourself in total honesty, where you know what you’re willing to dream, desire, and ultimately do. It’s also where you find your answer to this question: Am I willing and able to do what it takes to overcome these long-held habits of thought and action?
If the answer is that you just can’t make a change—you know yourself well enough to predict that you won’t do the work that’s necessary to accomplish it—then you’re wise to heed that response. Forget about changing those old habits, at least for now. However, if you don’t know how you’ll do it but you still feel that it’s doable, then proceed. You’ll find the answers coming to you because of your willingness to view these changes as a real possibility.
Criterion #3: It Must Allow You to Feel Good
Your left brain deals with the details of your life—this is where you analyze, compute, figure, and get all of your ducks in a row—and the first two criteria detailed above speak right to it. When you ask yourself the question Can I create a rational reason to change? your intellect responds: Yes, indeed, that does make sense, and I really believe that I can do this thing and bring about the desired changes.
Your right brain on the other hand, deals with things like your emotions, your intuition, your enthusiasm, your awareness and even your consciousness. So let’s examine the creation of a rational reason to change from the right brain’s point of view and discover how this change feels.
When I did this exercise in connection with the possibility of having my own daily TV program, I didn’t feel good at all. I felt tense, rushed, tight in my stomach, and nervous about all of the time I’d have to devote to the show. I actually began to feel sick, and that was enough for me. My emotions, which show up in my body as a result of my thoughts, were giving me the answer. Contrast this with what happened when I visualized how I’d feel after taking up the movie/acting challenge: I felt dizzy with excitement about learning a completely new craft—not to mention strong, content, and proud. My emotions actually empowered me.
If you want to shed old habits and excuses, take some time to visit that private place within you.
Close your eyes and visualize yourself as being completely free of these limitations . . . how does your body react? If you feel good, that’s all the evidence you need to prove to yourself that you have a rational reason to change.
Criterion #4: It Must Be Aligned with the Callings of Your Soul
How do you determine that you’re aligned with your soul’s purpose? You know by the way the rational reason speaks directly to you in that personal place within. The thoughts and feelings that surface tend to go like this: This is truly who I am. By making these changes and eradicating these habits, I will be living my life on purpose, fulfilling a destiny I came here to accomplish.