Here he is, the bigger than life Tony Robbins.
“Here’s what’s really true. Change happens in a moment. The moment you say ‘it’s over’ the moment you say ‘I love you’ the moment you say ‘I do’ the moment you say ‘let’s begin.’ And when you say that, but you actually act on it. All change happens in a moment.”
Sometimes it feels like it takes us a lifetime to get what we want or to achieve a milestone, whether it’s getting that job; or reaching that ideal weight or finding the perfect partner or simply reconnecting with ourselves.
But the truth is, as Tony Robbins points out, “change happens in a moment.” You may WAIT 10 years to DECIDE to make that change, but once you decide, it really is JUST one moment. You make the decision to stop procrastinating on your health; or you stand up to someone who’s wronged you; or you decide to follow your passion and leave a job that sucks the life out of you; or you simply decide you’re not going to be unhappy anymore. It all happens in ONE moment.
But what holds you back until that moment?
For most of us, it’s the basic fear of change and the protective certainty of our comfort zones.
In other words: self-sabotage.
This is the reason behind why so many people have read all the books and done all the research, made so many commitments, but still can’t put anything into action.
We are literally hard-wired to resist change.
Your critter brain, which is your brain stem (this is the part of your brain responsible for keeping you alive), takes care of your breathing, your heart rate, your blood flow, etc. It’s the most primitive part of your brain and it protects you and keeps you safe from what it sees as possible harm.
It doesn’t like change AT ALL. It sees that what has been working has kept you alive so far, so why change? Change represents danger for the critter brain.
Whenever you embark on something new, or simply think about something new, whether it’s a new food, a new habit or a new behavior that seems foreign, the critter brain perceives it to be risky, therefore unsafe.
When that happens, it has these little subliminal conversations with the other two parts of your brain–the cortex, which is our logical mind and the limbic system, which is our emotional center.
The critter brain probably says to the cortex, “Nooo..nooo…why do you want to do this? You’re FINE. You’ve lived all this time perfectly healthy and ALIVE without this (diet/exercise/waking up early/meditating/relationship etc)…there’s no reason to rock the boat… Why do you need this now?”
This confuses your logical mind and emotional center to the point where resistance takes over and you avoid the new behavior altogether.
This resistance often manifests in the form of seemingly logical “reasons” – which are in reality, self-sabotage.
Here are some of these excuses you’ve probably told yourself for not going through with a change:
- When I have time
- When the kids are on a routine
- When I have fewer social commitments
- When I get help at home
- When I can get my husband on board
- When I can afford it
- When I come back from vacation
- After this wedding/birthday/event
- When I finish this work project
- When I meet the right person
Your critter brain means well. Its inherent job is to protect you at any price. It’s been protecting you since the day you were born. But it hates change. So in order for it to allow you to go forward with any change it needs to feel that you’ll be safe when you come out at the other end.
If you want to achieve long-lasting results, you need all three brains to be in agreement and believe that change can happen…
The critter brain has to agree that it’s safe.
The logical brain has to be intrigued.
The emotional brain needs to be reassured that what you’re doing isn’t a threat to being loved or belonging.
Many times this self-sabotage or fear holds us back from doing what we really want, without us even realizing it. Often times it seems easier to simply play it safe by following our critter brain even at the expense of making progress.
Now that you know how your brain works, you know you have the ability to create the changes you want by pulling the right levers.
You know it’s not a matter of weak willpower, timing or any other explanation you’ve been giving yourself.
Of course, there’re quite a bit of nuances when you get down to working with your critter brain and peeling off the layers of fears and excuses that it serves up.
It takes time, masterful coaching and support to cultivate the awareness, so you can see through those seemingly reasonable “stories” your critter brain wants you to believe.
So which reason has your critter brain given you for not taking charge of your health?
You can see more of Tony Robbins in an interview with Oprah Winfrey here.