How to change our behaviors?

Most of us want to get better. Most of us want to eat healthy. Most of us want to reduce our time spent on social media. Most of us want to exercise. Most of us want to have better relationships. Most of us don’t or can’t. Why is that? Why is there a gap between what we want and how we act?

In order to understand this, we need to start looking at decision making process in three parts:

  1. Intentions: What do we want? Why do we want it? Are we sure of this? Is this what we really want? Or do we want it because it improves our self-image in society? Once we are very clear of the intention and connect to the deepest part in us from where the intention emanates, a peculiar strength begins to arise in us. Let’s take a tangible example of this. Let’s say you want to lose five kilos, but no matter what you are unable to get your butt off the couch. You are unable to get into routines. No number of apps help. This is where, we need to sit down with ourselves and see why we want to lose weight. “I want to lose weight because I want to be and feel healthy”. How badly do you want it? “This is important to me life”. Imagine you have a limited period to live. Let’s say 10 years. How would you want to live it? “Healthy”. When we start framing what our innermost desires are in the context of our lifespan, it helps us to make our desires very strong. Understand what you want in life. What truly matter to you. This strengthening of the intention is the beginning. If you don’t feel it strongly – don’t waste your money on a gym membership.
  2. Expression: Once your intention is strong, talk to yourself and others on it. Talking to yourself doesn’t mean you are mad. I do it all the time when I’m in the bathroom or in the shower or on a walk. I often take the role of a best friend and ask myself questions. This helps me get a third-person’s perspective. Ask yourself why this matters to you. Keep expressing your intention in words. This re-affirms it. Maintain a journal and write it down. Revisit it often. And then, find a peer group or a community and talk to them about your intention. Share and grow.
  3. Action: Once the intention and the expression is clear, action has a strong base to start becoming a habit. Action without the former is useless. And action best happens in small doses. Always start small. You can’t lose 5 kilos overnight. Start with five pushups a day. That’s it. Just five. This can happen when you are waiting for the cooker to whistle or the kettle to boil. Wherever, just do it. Slowly increase it to 8 then 10 and so on. Small achievements are critical for success. Success happens in small steps not big leaps.

Always remember the sequence : Intention > Expression > Action > Manifestation

So always remember the sequence Intention > Expression > Action > Manifestation. We need to strengthen each of these components to be able to change our behaviors. Try it and let me know what you think.

The Step Well at Adalaj, Ahmedabad, India. 2019.

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