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Common Questions and Answers
People want to change and grow; that is how we are wired. The problem is that most people either don’t know how to change or they won’t put in the effort to create lasting change. NASP has a proven system with clear steps you need to take to create the life you desire and to create lasting change.
A vision is a written or visual image of where you want to go, who you want to be, or what you want to have.
Can a missile hit its target if no one programs in a destination? No! The missile’s guidance mechanism needs to know the target before it will launch. Think of yourself as that missile and your vision is the guidance mechanism that guides you to your target.
Most people have not created an intentional vision for themselves, but that does not mean that they are not moving toward a target. If you do not proactively create a vision for yourself, your mind will choose a target for you based on past references and current capabilities. If you are not reaching your goals, your mind has chosen a target for you and it is not one that you want. Everyone is following their “guidance mechanism” either by design or by default.
It is so important that you proactively create visions for yourself in every area of your life – career, relationships, health, etc. A clear and powerful vision creates a strong desire to change the habits that keep you from that vision.
With a powerful vision and strong desire, you can truly focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want. With a consistent focus on what you want, you can achieve it.
2. Breaking Old Habits
Now that you have created your vision, it’s time to start actively working toward that vision. Your visions won’t automatically happen; you have to work toward them every day. On a daily basis, 90% of what you do is done out of habit. Before you can start working toward your vision, you have to break old habits that could stand in your way.
Write down all the old habits you need to break and then create a habit interrupt for each one. A habit interrupt is when you do something with your body, focus, and self-talk to interrupt a negative pattern. Your body, what you focus on, and what you say to yourself, must be in alignment to break a habit. Do something intense with your body like jumping in the air, say something positive to yourself, and focus on what you want. The more intense the pattern interrupt, the more effective it will be.
For example, John was working on losing weight. He had developed the habit of continuing to eat even after he felt full, especially when he was dining out. One evening when he was out to dinner at a nice restaurant, he noticed himself going into the habit of overeating. He jumped out of his chair and yelled at the top of his lungs, “I’m not a pig!” Because of the intensity and attached emotion of this habit interrupt, he smashed his habit of eating more than he should. He lost 103 pounds in the next 6 months.
3. Build New Habits
The secret to creating lasting change is to create powerful new habits. We are creatures of habit, because if we didn’t turn most of what we do into a habit, we wouldn’t be able to function.
Just as you interrupted old habits that weren’t serving you, you will use your focus, self-talk, and physiology to create new habits that will move you toward your visions.
Focus – What do you focus on? Do you focus on what you want or what you don’t want? Do you focus on what is going wrong in your life or what is going right? Most people focus on the negative. When you ask someone what they want, they usually dive into explaining what they don’t want and may have to think hard to tell you what they do want. To build new habits that move you toward your visions, you need to focus on what you want. What you focus on, you will bring into your life.
Self-Talk – What do you say to yourself when you’re alone? When you are beginning a new project, are you telling yourself, “I can do it. I have everything it takes to make this happen”? Or are you telling yourself, “I can’t do this. I don’t have the skills to make this happen”?
Your self-talk is the primary way to shift your focus. Most people are their harshest critics. In order to reach your visions, you need to consciously be your biggest fan. Proactively create a manta, something you say to yourself to align with your focus. Some examples are: I got this! I have exactly what I need to make this happen! I am a superstar!
Physiology – Have you ever seen an athlete after they make a great shot? Many do a fist pump, with an intense look on their face. They are using a physical expression to snap their mindset back to focus on what they want to happen. Because your body guides your emotions, you want to make sure your body is in alignment with your focus and self-talk to ensure you are moving toward your visions.
If you want to feel happy, act happy with your body. That means that you should smile, hold your head up, throw your shoulders back, and put a spring in your step. If you want to feel sad, do just the opposite: frown and look down at the ground with your shoulders all slumped over and your feet dragging with each step.
4. Disciplined Imagination
Imagination is where all creative things happen. There are three parts to your mind: memory, focus, and imagination. Memory and focus both use imagination. When you are in memory, you use your imagination to dwell on the past: pain, humiliation, and all the reasons why you can’t accomplish what you want. When you live in memory you end up with your future looking just like your past.
When you are focused, you use imagination to focus on possibilities. But you can’t just let your imagination run wild on all the possibilities and not make a decision on a path because you’ll never accomplish anything. You have to discipline your imagination. Determine what you want and use your imagination to create the picture in your mind as if it has already happened. Then whenever doubt creeps in, pull your focus back to that picture.
5. Role Models
Once you determine what you want, break old habits, and create new habits, it’s time to understand what you need to do to create your visions. Role models are a perfect way to understand who you need to become to accomplish everything in your visions. Look for people who have already accomplished what you want. What do they believe, how do they carry themselves, and what actions do they take? You may not find all the attributes in one single person, and if you are trying to accomplish something no one has ever done before, the person may not exist. You can choose several people, or even create a fictitious character to model your mindset, beliefs, and actions after.
6. Taking Risks
The final step in the process is the willingness to take risks and do things differently. If you are unwilling to step out of your comfort zone and take a risk, then it doesn’t matter how well you performed the first five steps; you will not reach your vision. The amount of success you achieve is in direct proportion to the amount of uncertainty you are willing to handle.
To learn more about how to implement the Six Steps to Lasting Change, visit us at www.nasp.com and enroll in our CPSP or CPSL Certifications.
About the author
Brooke Dukes is currently supporting NASP as Chief Sales Officer leading strategy and business development. Prior to NASP, Brooke was a multi-million dollar producer and excelled at various executive-level positions in sales and business development, including two Fortune100 companies. She has worked with some of the largest and most successful companies including Lear, General Motors, and United Airlines, and across multiple industries, such as insurance, skincare and cosmetics, technology, and banking.
Brooke has her BS from Michigan State University. She is a mother of two successful children and an avid traveler. Exploring the world and helping people achieve their dreams is her passion. Brooke resides in Austin Tx.