A lot of work goes on behind the scenes to establish our thought patterns and our way of looking at ourselves and the world. That’s why it takes a lot of work and intentionality to re-programme these ways of thinking. But it’s in re-programming our mind that we can create positive and long-lasting results and make steps towards reaching our true potential.

From the beginning, as babies, our genes influence our traits and behaviours. As we mature, we become conditioned by our environment, including our upbringing, our social and economic status, and how we are treated. At school, our thoughts and programming are shaped by the model of our education system, which teaches us the “what” of thinking – the relaying of facts and information, not the “how” of thinking.

From the combination of our genetic conditioning and the influence of our environment and schooling, most of us are not conscious of how our mind is programmed – we take our way of thinking as automatic and fixed.

But, sometimes our conditioning is negative and leads to poor or sub-optimal results. Your environment might lead you to think that you’re not good enough and you can become trapped in less than ideal patterns of behaviour. Conditioning might lead to a poor self-image, and actions that are limiting or even self-destructive.

In order to challenge the attitudes we have about ourselves, we need to understand the “how” of thinking and the way our minds work. There are two parts to our mind – the conscious and the subconscious. The conscious mind is the information hunter-gatherer, our awareness, and the decision-maker. From our education system through to employee training programs, there’s a focus on growing our conscious minds. We are made aware of what we need to do. Why then do we not always do it?

That’s why we need to understand our subconscious mind. The subconscious is our underlying programming – the thoughts that we’re unaware of that drive our body and our behaviours. Programming is set by the repetition of information that flows from our environment into our subconscious mind.

Sometimes our subconscious mind stops our conscious mind from making the right decisions, because within our subconscious lies our paradigms. These are habits and ideas that we think or do automatically, without conscious thought.

For example, if we repeatedly think or behave in a certain way we may not be aware that we are doing it – it’s a habitual action. Sometimes our paradigms can make us feel stuck, restrained, and frustrated, holding us back from reaching our potential. Our paradigms shape our self-image and what we think we are capable of.

To explain this further, our conscious mind knows what to do, but our subconscious mind stops us from doing it (because of our beliefs and habits).

People often think that if they simply change their behaviour they can change their results. Maybe for a short-time, but this is unlikely to create lasting change, because it doesn’t look at the root cause of our actions. In order to make enduring change we need to look more profoundly at how we think and shift our paradigms.

To do this, we need to be aware of the habits of thinking that hold us back. We need to become mindful of our involuntary belief patterns and become conscious of our paradigms.

Once you are aware of a paradigm, you can then start to replace your ideas. As paradigms are created from the repetition of information, to alter them you need to repeat the “new” information and internalize it.

One way of doing this is through daily repetitive writing of affirmations over a period of several months. For example, one goal could be to lose weight and the initial paradigm could be, “I make poor decisions around what I eat” and this can be replaced with an affirmation like, “I am a healthy person and I make the right food decisions”.

It takes time and commitment to get the new information firmly planted in the subconscious mind, but, once it’s embedded there, a new and more positive way of thinking and behaving follows.

Top performers always operate within a different paradigm. It’s possible for you to alter your paradigms and challenge the limits of your environment and conditioning, if you’re willing to go beyond your conscious mind and explore the habits that are holding you back.

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Terri Newman-Hodge

Having pursued personal growth, consulting, and development throughout my life, I am now thrilled to be able to turn that passion into a business, by working with and facilitating Proctor Gallagher Institute’s “Thinking Into Results” program, that helps people live happier, healthier, more abundant lives.

© 2018 Terri Newman-Hodge