Last fall, I went to a conference where we heard a speaker talk about how you can rewire your brain to change your thinking from negative to positive. For the past few days, I’ve been reading this speaker’s book, “Switch on Your Brain,” and pondering this idea of change.
I have mixed emotions about this book and the entire concept. I will be reading along, nodding my head, thinking about the things I want to change in my life. Then, a moment later, my mind drifts off into thoughts of, “Wow! That really sounds like a lot of work.” “I don’t know if I can do it.” “I don’t even know if I really WANT to change.”
The author’s premise is that our thoughts grow like trees through our brain. The negative thoughts are like dead trees with strong roots winding their way through our brains. She mixes science and faith to build a case that if we stop thinking about the negative things and focus on a positive replacement for 63 days, we can make small changes that can become big changes over the span of our life.
When I first heard her speak back in October, I immediately decided I needed to take control of one area of my life that was contributing to some negative thinking: Facebook. At that time, it seems like I was spending way too much time comparing myself to other people. I was often wishing my life was different. I cared way too much about what people thought about me. And I cared way too much about what other people were doing with their lives.
I went off FB for 45 days (other than posting for my job). I have to say that it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I often would check FB in the morning, but I started replacing that with something positive… reading the Bible app on my phone.
Because part of my job is to do social media, I needed to go back on FB for a specific purpose so I quit my FB fast before the end of the 63 days. But I do feel that I’m a lot more balanced in the way I think about it than I was before. I was getting to the point I was starting to believe Facebook was real life, rather than just the highlight reel that it truly is.
Anyway, I’ve tried making other changes since then. I like the idea of trying to do something new for 63 days, whether it’s changing a thought pattern or a habit. I’m usually great for about two weeks, maybe a month… even six weeks. But making a consistent change everyday for 63 days feels quite overwhelming. Even when I do manage to change a bad habit, it seems like it’s so easy to slide right back into my same routine even after months of doing things differently.
I started off the year trying to make my bed every morning. How hard could that be, right? I’m sure there are 12 year olds who do a better job making their beds than I do!
I made it for about one month. Then one day, I didn’t feel well. Or I was running late. As soon as I let myself slip one day, I started falling right back into my old pattern of leaving the house with a messy bed. Now, I make my bed as much as possible, but it still takes effort. I would love to get to the point that making my bed everyday was the norm, and leaving the house with it unmade felt like the exception.
I’ve been thinking about making a chart with 63 days on it and tracking some of the changes I want to make. I want to see if I consistently give up on the 14th day. At what point do I start to slip? How long can I stay strong in my resolve before it starts getting hard to stay focused? What can I do to break down the 63 days to celebrate more of my successes? Wouldn’t it be great to look back at an area of my life in 63 days and realize that I really made a change?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Do you have any areas of your life that you are trying to change? Or do you feel pretty good about things the way they are? Do you get discouraged when you try to create new habits? Or have you had success in this area?