Change your life (insert anything you want) instaneously!
Why this does not work...
I was eating my breakfast this morning, perusing the papers, (which, I am attempting to give up due to its effect on my peace of mind), and as a ‘fun’ bit of research I counted all the ways that content providers were promising quick fixes for problems that ‘everyone’ has.
There were no less than 36 offerings, across two mainstream media offerings. I say no less as thats what I counted in 15 minutes, there could probably be much more.
How to do (insert fix) in five minutes tended to be the most popular title.
It also reminded me of a podcast episode that I recorded for someone else (don’t think it is out, as I am not sure the host liked my messages!) in which he asked why people buy ‘self care’ items only to not use them when they got them.
This then led to me thinking about quick versus slow in general.
Now I can tell you which parts of the brain loves the quick, and prides itself on reacting in nanoseconds to effects and influences in the environment.
The Limbic System and the Hindbrain.
What are their main functions?
The limbic system is involved in survival behaviours and emotional responses, the hind brain is all about autonomic survival functions such as respiratory rhythyms, motor acitivity, anthing that you do stay alive and do not think about doing.
So anything in your environment that makes you emotional about your survival taps into these systems and these systems react at a much faster rate than the prefrontal cortext - our thinking brain.
The prefrontal cortex will never rush you, it will never shout at you, it will never force you to make snap decisions that are based on emotions.
It is the prefrontal cortex that needs to be strong when we are instigating change.
When I work with people I tell them the truth. There is no one day, five minute fix. It takes at least 56 days to start a new neural network, it takes more time than that to make that pattern into an unconscious action.
It is disingenous clickbait to tell people that five minutes does anything transformational with longevity. Do not fall for the hype.
Positive thinking and intentions alone do not create change either.
So I am going to releave you of thinking that it is you who is broken if you ‘think positively’ or make intentions for the year (resolutions rebrand ha ha) and nothing happens.
Neither these work unless there is a plan for action after them.
The brain hates change, it finds it next to impossible to create change if the environment is not supportive of that change.
It is totally impossible to create change if the motivation for it is not convincing, consistent and communicated well.
What can you do in five minutes that can support change?
Reflect on why you have not already done this change - what has been missing from the formula before?
Look all around you. How does your environment reflect the change you want to make?
Write a list of all the positives that will happen when you are going through the change.
Look at images that convince your brain that this change is achievable.
Get support and accountability for both actioning and maintaining the change.
These five minutes are not just one offs either. They need to be convincing, consistent and communicated well. For (at the very least) 56 days.
Change is not merely a case of passivity, of buying the ‘magic pill’, doing a one off workshop, reading a self help book once.
People need to understand that in order to even make seemingly small changes then the whole enviornment that enabled and supported the ‘old habits’ needs to be different, which then enables the new behaviours to begin, solidify and then be maintainable.
I say it often, it is my epitaph entirely.
Change the environment, not the person.
So instead of allowing your limbic system to jump on the ‘five minute change’ bandwagon, and then indulging itself with whatever coping strategy to soothe you not being able to change, how about really thinking about how your environment and everything within it is not supporting you to be who you really want to be.
When we address our environment, we are addressing the factors that are keeping us stuck in patterns that are not useful to us.
We are creating our own verison of the world that we want to live in and smask through all potentials that we have.
So if you do nothing else in the next five minutes, look to see what is supportive and what is not.
Then follow the rest of the suggestions in this writing convincingly, consistently and in a way that communicates with your brain that the world is changing and you are in charge of it.
Then, your brain will support your change process.
“One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.”