Updated: Sep 17, 2020
Studies have shown that 80% to 90% of our thoughts are the same as the day before. Now, let that statistic sink into our mind for a moment. That means that we think the same thoughts and execute the same behaviors 80% - 90% of the time, leaving 10% - 20% of space to achieve new experiences. If we keep doing and thinking the same thing over and over again, everything stays the same. There is a quote by Kevin Trudeau that says: "If you want your life to change, you need to change things in your life."
New thoughts lead to new choices that lead to new behaviors that create unique experiences that lead to new emotions/feelings that could inspire thoughts, which changes our biology. Old thoughts lead to the same choices that cause our behaviors to be monotonous. It leaves no room for new experiences, causing us to have the same emotions/feelings with the same thoughts, leaving us stagnant. Change comes with adjustments at the beginning. Go back to when you first started practicing yoga and compare your practice now? Remember all those falls? Or the person next to you warming up with a headstand while you can barely touch your toes?
Experience (external stimulus) is when a behavior matches an intention. For example, let's use the phrase “final exam.” As soon as you heard those two words, you must’ve seen a flashback to your college years, when you had to cram one semester of information in 48-hours. Remember those nights of drinking gallons of coffee and taking Adderall or Ritalin pills as if they were tic-tacs? As for me, whenever I hear the words “final exam,” my stomach cringes, breathing pauses, muscles become tense, and it seemed as if I aged during that span. All it took was those two simple words to bring us back to that time frame. But as each year passed, I would change my approach and adapted new techniques to put me in the best position to succeed. For example, I asked for finals week at the restaurant I was bartending, I spaced out my study days rather than going through those dreaded “all-nighters,” and I integrated self-care time frames (yoga, meditation, running) during the week to avoid burn out.
Your personality creates your reality. Compare and contrast your experiences during "finals week" the first year of college, with the last year of college, notice any changes in behavior? Freshman year was chaos. You didn’t even know what was going on, the panic was everywhere, and then over the corner of your eye, you saw the seniors walking around campus in their pajamas, confident and unfaced to what’s happening. The experience (final exam) is the same amongst freshmen and seniors, yet our physiological reaction varies. What changes? It was our predisposition to change certain habits and behaviors in order to reach our goal. This change did not happen overnight; it took a variety of attempts, many lessons learned as to how “not to do” certain things, and most importantly, we were open enough to try new alternatives.
The power of change lies within yourself. We have the key to turn on the machine; it all depends on us if we dare to turn it on. This dilemma appears in the movie The Matrix; When Morpheus provides Neo with the choice of either taking the “red pill” or the “blue pill.” We always have a choice. We have the ability to become and achieve whatever we put our minds to. We hear that saying thousands of times, yet, have you take the time to truly understand the significance of that phrase?