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Change: the Secret Rule.

We’ve all had that one habit we always tried – unsuccessfully – to kick. We’ve all wanted to change at some point, but something always seemed to get in the way.

It can be anything to anyone: smoking, eating junk food, overeating during social occasions, procrastination, anger, patience, or even simply negative thinking.

But many experts agree on how the ‘turning point’ that precedes any true, significant, and lasting personal change:

Being aware.

As simplistic as the idea sounds, it is being aware of the problem, and what it could mean for us, that can truly change the game and allow us to actually do something about it.

For example, when we have urges to eat something we know is bad for us, we often give in. But is it actually that simple as ignoring the negative aspects and simply indulging?

In actuality, the mind is rationalizing why we should just eat that cake, why its actually harder not to eat it, or why it isn’t that bad to eat it after all.

It asks: why we’re putting ourselves through pain? why can’t we let ourselves just live,?Don’t we deserve that treat?

All of this happens subconsciously, in the background of our consciousness, but it’s there – and it’s very powerful. But, and this is where awareness is important, it’s even more powerful when we’re not aware it’s happening.

Awareness is the key to beating our own mind.

1. Becoming aware is crucial. Start listening to your self-talk, and observe what your own mind does.

2. Don’t give into the mind’s rationalisation. Your mind will urge you to eat that cake, or smoke that cigarette, or stop running, or procrastinate. Listen to what your mind is saying, but don’t act on those instructions. Just sit still (mentally) and watch and listen.

3. Let the urge pass. The urge to smoke, eat, procrastinate, or quit running will soon pass within a minute or two. It’s only temporary. Breathe, and let it pass.

4. Beat the rationalizations. You can actively argue with your mind. When it says, “One little bite won’t hurt!”, you could point to your gut and say, “Yeah, that’s what you said all those other times, and now I’m fat!” When it says, “Why are you putting yourself through this pain?”, you could say, “It’s painful to be unhealthy, and it’s only painful to avoid the cake if you look at it as a sacrifice — instead, it can be a joy to embrace healthy and delicious foods, and fitness!”

There are lots of times when our own mind fails us. These are the times we need to become aware of how it can trick us, and how we can convince it to work for us, instead of against us.