Changing Bad Habits Part 2: The How-To


In the first part of this article you learned about the way our mind code’s our memories using sub-modalities so it can differentiate between different kinds of experience. For example a ‘bad memory’ of a dismal rainy day stuck at the train station could be a small, disassociated, distant, black and white image, while one of your pleasant holiday experience memories is big, bright, associated, colourful and moving.

Now we can use this knowledge to ‘re-program’ our experiences. If you were to take that bad memory and move it into the same location as the good memory and transform it’s qualities into ‘associated,’ ‘brighter colours,’ and ‘bigger and closer,’ you would find yourself feeling much better about that bad memory even though the context of the representation remains the same. It’s the sub-modalities that count!

There is a lot you can do with just the information you’ve learned above. How useful would it be to be able to transform your memories of future mundane work tasks into enthusiasm and gusto? This is quite easy to do with the following kind of creative problem solving technique:

Mundanity Into Enthusiasm

  1. Think about a specific memory of a mundane task you have to do.
  2. Think about an activity that fills you with enthusiasm and curiosity.
  3. Now do a contrastive analysis: Notice the differences between the two images. Are they in different locations in space? Is one closer than the other? Is one a moving image and the other still? (Draw a vertical line on paper and jot down the differences between the two images.)
  4. When you’ve discovered the coding differences look at your ‘mundane memory’ and shift it over into the location of ‘enthusiasm.’ Change it’s sub-modalities so that they are the coding’s of enthusiasm; Bigger, brighter, closer, moving images…

That’s it. But because the mind gets into habits it’s best to do this on a few more memories to help train or program the mind into the new coding’s. You can do this easily enough by thinking about three or more similar future mundane tasks that are coming up and map them across into the coding’s of enthusiasm. Doing so makes good use of the ‘generalisation effect’ of the mind.

generalisation effect

You can use this method to transform any memory into something more resourceful. Here’s more ideas for you:

  • Humiliation into Laughter (“One day you will be able to laugh at this.”)
  • Unsociable into Friendliness
  • Boredom into Curiosity
  • Defeated into Self Determination
  • Frustration into Inspiration
  • Indifference into Loving
  • Doubt into Possibility (For your New Year Goals?!)

What others can you come up with? Go ahead and share your ideas in the comments section below…

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