handling goals
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  • Why is it so Hard to Establish a New Habit?

    As we work on our human revolution, that transformation from the lesser to the greater self, we are going to have to give up habits of thinking and acting that don’t serve us and adopt new ones which serve us better.

    How Do We Build a New Habit?

    We start by making a decision to change something with our conscious mind.

     

    The  part of us that is going maintain and act on the change is our subconscious mind. that subconscious part of us is entrusted with all of the things that maintain our lives.  It keeps our heartbeat regular, digests our food, and keeps all of our vital processes functioning to maintain life.  For this reason the subconscious mind does not change quickly.

     

    Think about how you learned to drive a car. Initially you had to consciously make a decision to practice braking and accelerating as you learned to drive. You might have been overwhelmed by all the things you had to remember at once. You motivated yourself by looking at the freedom you would gain, the fact you would be a part of the grown-up world, etc. Yet after you practiced driving for a while, the actions became automatic and your unconscious reflexes put on the brake or the accelerator at just the right time.  You had become a driver. By setting the goal and following through, you grew into a new identity.

    The Steps:

    • You made the decision
    • You practiced taking small actions to build the new habits,
    • Your subconscious mind adopted the new behaviors
    • Once that happens you are supported in the new habit. the subconscious handles things automatically.
    • You built a new identity, a driver.

    Make a Decision: What do You Want to Achieve?

    Let’s say you don’t believe you can achieve the goal you’ve set and you want to be able to pull yourself out of that mindset.

    First, create a conscious vision of what you want to achieve. Why do you want to achieve it? Your why’s are your strong reasons for doing it, your motivators. Your motivators could be the opportunity, on the positive side, or the consequences if you don’t do it on the negative side.

    Make the decision you are going to do it no matter what. Then chant to be willing to make the necessary changes.

    Accept the Fact of Resistance

    We all have resistance to change. When we learn to recognize it and embrace it as part of the process, then it becomes easier to persist. Change doesn’t happen overnight so we can’t expect habit change to take place in a couple of days. You have to plan on being persistent with the new behavior for a couple of months.

    Change isn’t comfortable in the initial stages, so you must be willing to step out of your comfort zone for a while until the new behavior becomes habitual. We all revert to old thinking or behavioral habits and have to work to change them.

    Having this goal of changing a negative mindset. I don’t really believe this goal is possible. I want to change this way of thinking. I know I’m being negative and I know being negative has not created good results in my life. I don’t want to continue to create negative results in my life. I want to focus on the solution. But, I find myself falling into looking at the problem over and over. See my post, Do You Know why Your thoughts Are so Important? http://wp.me/p3V1J9-PB) to discover why developing a positive mindset is important.

    This is the time the rubber meets the road. Do you quit, drop the goal and move to something else? Or, do you stick with it and practice pulling your thinking out of looking at the problems to refocus on the positive end goal? If you decide to practice, you have engaged in the process of building a new positive habit – focusing on what you want.

    You don’t have to completely believe you will achieve the goal. Treat it as an experiment and see what happens. That way you will keep your mind positive, engaged in the process of building a new positive habit – focusing on what you want.

    One Small Step a Day

    Consciously take a small action to build the new habit. When you become aware you are falling into negative thinking, refocus your mind on your end goal – the solution to the problem. You may have to take that small action over and over during the day. When you take a small action, for example , turning your attention to what you want, your mind lowers its resistance.  It may take a month or two of being persistent in pulling your mind out of negativity. But one day you will find yourself doing it automatically. At that point you will have established a new habit and will easily focus on the positive goal.

    “I like change, but only a little bit at a time.”

    Whether you can believe you can achieve a goal or not, stick with it until you get what you want. Seeing the way events work themselves out, ends up building the belief that anything is possible.

    A Personal Experience: A Physical change

    Let’s say it’s a physical change you want to make. Lifelong I have had a tendency towards a rounded back. Slumping while sitting is a physical habit. As I got older my back rounded more as I worked at computers and desks. I decided one day I didn’t want to be facing the floor when I was 90.

    I chanted about the issue. an idea came to go to a physical therapist. I went and she she introduced me to the foam roller. I lie on it on my back length wise and use weights to open my chest. When I started a year ago, due to the rounding, there was a three inch space between my head and the foam roller. I committed myself to doing the exercises 3-4 times a week. Getting off the roller was actually painful.

    Over the months I noticed my back seemed to be loosening and then one day I was able to brush the roller with my head. Over the next couple of months my back continued to relax until I was able to lay my head flat on the roller. It took a year, but by doing just a little 4 times a week, I was able to transform the trajectory of my back. It was a huge victory. People started commenting that they couldn’t see the hump I had had. I won’t be facing the floor when I’m ninety. I didn’t think that kind of change was possible. One small action at a time.

    Find a Role Model, a Mentor

    If you’re unsure about what is needed, find a role model, someone who embodies what you want to do. You can talk to them to find out how they did it or you might read something they’ve written that shows you how they think. This is when having a mentor is so useful.

    When chanting for a goal that is a stretch, it is helpful to read Daisaku Ikeda’s writings. He demonstrates how to reach for a huge goal in The Human Revolution, and talks about the importance of staying positive in Faith Into Action. Then in the Daily Encouragement, he encourages you to persist with your dreams and not let anyone talk you out of them.

    Summary:

    1. Create a vision of what you want.
    2. Make a decision you are going to do this no matter what.

    3. Chant for your goal.
    4. Accept the fact of resistance.
    5. Take one small step a day to practice the new way of thinking, or to make a small behavioral change.
    6. Find a role model
    7. Never give up.

  • 8 Steps to Master The Way You Think

    Why is It Important to Master Negative Thinking?

    We are one with the Mystic Law, that creative, unlimited life force, in the core of our lives, our Buddha nature. Because of that connection, we human beings have an amazing ability. Our thoughts take form in the physical world. Our habitual, characteristic, predominant mental attitude shows up in the conditions, environment, health, and experiences of our daily life. As Daisaku Ikeda says in Faith into Action,

    “In accordance with 3000 realms in a single moment of life, pessimistic thoughts or feelings take form just as they are, in reality, producing negative results. People who have negative thoughts create effects for themselves that perfectly match their thinking. So its important to be optimistic.”

    In the same way our positive thoughts and mental attitudes take form as positive experiences and circumstances. In this way we build our circumstances from our inner life to manifest in the outer world.

    Accept Responsibility & Take Charge of Your Life

    No matter what your life circumstances you are not a victim. To believe, that anything outside of yourself is creating your circumstances, is to believe an illusion.
    To take charge of your life you have to take full responsibility for having created your current life circumstances. Until you understand the power you have, and use it on purpose, you will continue to create your life by accident.

    Chant for clarity if you don’t know what to do. I suspect that if you examine your thinking you will see what the issue is.  Awareness is the first step.  See margaretblaine.com/know-why to see how our thoughts often flow when chanting for a goal.

     How Can I Master a Habit of Negative Thinking?

    What can we do to change, if we know we have the habit of negative thinking? Let’s look at a specific example with the understanding that this applies to any concern you might have.
    Let’s say you want a beautiful home but currently don’t have the money to manifest it. One day you become aware that when you think about that beautiful home, you are envisioning a lack of money to do it. Don’t envision needing money, while you chant, or as you go about your day. That perpetuates the thought of lack. You don’t want to continue to produce the life circumstance of not having enough.

    Instead envision your home as beautiful and opulent as you want it to be. Imagine how it would feel to live in such a home. Imagine having plenty of money to create your dream home. Spend some time each day envisioning your home in detail, as you wish it to be. Any time you find yourself envisioning the lack of money, substitute a constructive thought for the destructive one and re-envision the home exactly as you wish it to be. You are creating a new habit of thought and as time goes on with regular practice your mind will automatically go to what you want, not to your doubts or fears.

    Even though you have an earnest desire, the general plan may be dim at first but gradually an outline will form, then the details. Each day, see the picture more and more clearly and the ways and means of manifestation will appear. Thought has the vitality of the life force behind it. It grows what is planted just as a plant grows out of a seed planted in a garden. Keep an open mind and be ready to take action when the time comes.   Don’t dig up the seed every day to see if it is growing. If you dig up a seed planted in a garden every day, it won’t germinate. That is true with the seeds in your mental garden as well.

    Try it as an experiment and see what happens.

    When the ways and means of creating what you want appear, take action.

    Some Goals Take Longer Than Others

    It’s important to recognize that some goals are going to take longer than others. All goals manifest when the time is right. Maybe you need to develop a skill. Or perhaps there is a life change that must happen. Perhaps you need to grow in some way. Whatever it is, do whatever comes up to be addressed one step at a time, while keeping your focus on what you want.

    Be Patient with Yourself

    We’ve all grown up in a society which has taught us to do the exact opposite of what I’m describing here. If we don’t like our circumstances we have been taught to try to change them rather than understanding the cause that created them. In other words, try to change the effect rather than understand the cause.

    The 8 Steps

    1. Accept that your life is what you have created the past.
    2. Pay attention to how you are thinking now. Awareness is the first step.
    3. When you catch yourself looking at your fears, or what you don’t want, re-envision what you want. Practice, practice, practice. Habit change happens a little change each day.
    4. Focus on what you want each day, seeing the details.
    5. Take action when ideas come up to move forward towards your goal.
    6. Accept that some goals take longer than others.
    7. Be patient with yourself.
    8. Keep on until you have achieved your goal.

  • Know Why It’s Important to Forge Your Mind of Faith?

    President Ikeda says in the  Clear Mirror Guidance, that when you chant, your mind of faith is reflected on the entire universe, as if on a clear mirror.  This means that when you chant about a concern, your mind of faith is going to influence the results you receive.

    If your mind of faith is joyful and you chant with confidence and determination, the universe will reflect this state of mind in terms of good results.    

    But, if you are chanting ritualistically, with complaints, disbelief and doubts, you won’t receive a lot of benefit.

    Are You Aware of Your Mind of Faith?

    Being aware of your mind of faith, allows you to recognize what you are doing while you are chanting. If you are fearful, and focus on problems rather than solutions, then further problems may well be the result. If you chant with doubts, disbelieving you can be successful in achieving your goal, study, get guidance and do whatever you need to do to resolve them.

    Learn to be aware of what you are doing and then adjust your thinking to get better results. Focus on your desired solution, then relax and allow the universe to determine the path.

    This is a subtle process, but learning to control your mind is the key to developing the mind of faith, which will produce the results you want. It will allow you to bring out the full positive potential in all situations.

     What Does ‘Learn to Control Your Mind’, Mean?

    Being able to control your mind means :

    • To be able to keep your attention focused on what you want, not letting yourself dwell in doubt, fear and vivid imaginary disasters.
    • To refuse to be deluded by how things appear on the surface of life, knowing that if you stay focused and continue to chant, you can effect change.
    • To be emotionally stable through the ups and downs of life, staying focused on your goal as you wish it to be.
    • To possess the confidence that you have the same creative power as universal mind, that you can mold, influence, overcome obstacles and create expansion in your life just as that universal energy does.

    An Experience

    Two married practitioners, Amy and Doug, had agreed to be co-signers on their daughter, Diane’s house. All went well for several years and then both Diane and her partner, Alicia, lost their jobs. They couldn’t afford the mortgage. Without telling Amy and Doug, they stopped paying their mortgage. Everyone’s credit went downhill. When Doug and Amy checked their credit for something else eight months later, they realized there was a problem. For a while they tried to help, but soon a second mortgage was more than they could afford.

    How Can We Get Them to Put the House on the Market?

    Amy and Doug began to chant for ideas on what to do, as Diane and Alicia weren’t prepared to put the house on the market. Diane attempted to get an adjustment on the mortgage but it wasn’t moving forward. The bank kept asking for more and more papers and losing the ones she’d provided. The back monies kept rising month by month. If the house was foreclosed, it would mean Doug and Amy’s retirement. They felt completely powerless.

    They chanted about how to get Diane and Alicia to put the house on the market.

    They talked repeatedly to Diane and Alicia about getting a real estate agent. Relationships grew tense. They chanted about how to handle the house issue, and still keep the relationships positive. Then unexpectedly the bank took legal action. Doug, Amy, Diane and Alicia received papers summoning them to a court date.

     What Would It Take to Sell the House?

    Seeing that the bank was getting ready to force action, Amy and Doug went to look at the house. They saw there were a number of repairs and painting that needed to be done before the house could be put on the market. The owners finally agreed that if everyone was going to get their money out of the house, it had to be put up for sale.

    While chanting, Amy and Doug realized that they could take care of the repairs, the painting and the large overgrown yard, since both Alicia and Diane had significant physical problems. The family began to pull together. Doug and his oldest son did the repairs and Amy and Doug paid for the yard work and a retainer for an attorney. Then Diane’s younger brother came for a visit and he helped them weed out their belongings. A full dumpster went to the dump.

    A Crisis

    Amy and Doug chanted daily for a good buyer. After two months, three showed up. One was accepted. A month passed while inspectors came to look at all the systems in the house.

    Their attorney told the Diane and Alicia the first court date was due to be the day after their expected closing date.

    One month before the closing date, the buyers came back with another offer wanting about $30,000 worth of repairs. The sellers and Doug and Amy were under the gun.

    Don’t Be Thrown by Events

    Doug and Amy could have been overwhelmed and fearful facing the apparent situation – the potential loss of the buyer, repairs they couldn’t afford and a foreclosure. Instead, they had confidence, that with their chanting practice they were going to succeed.  They continued to chant while keeping their eye firmly on the goal, a smooth closing. All four sellers put their heads together and agreed to cover about $2500 in repairs . They told the buyers that they weren’t going to haggle any further, but would go to the next buyer. The counter bid was accepted.

    No Money to Move

    The second crisis showed up when  Diane and Alicia didn’t have the money to move. They had bad credit, three cats and two large dogs. Diane rapidly discovered that no rental company would rent to them.

    Doug and Amy chanted that they would find a place to live where they would be happy.

    Diane talked to her brothers about helping out with money for the move. To everyone’s surprise and relief, they agreed.

    Diane and Alicia found a townhouse perfect for them despite their bad credit. The owners believed in giving second chances, a second surprise.

    One day before the scheduled court date, the house was fully sold and recorded. The family got their money back from the profits made by the sale of the house.

    Poison Turned Into Medicine

    Poison, the threatened foreclosure, had been turned into medicine, a successful sale, and successful move, and better family relationships.

    Summary:
    1. Be aware of what you are projecting to the universe, your mind of faith.
    2. Deal with any complaints, doubts and disbelief.
    3. Control your mind and emotions and stay positive, your eye on the goal, no matter what.

    March 16, 2017 • Buddhism In Daily Life, handling goals, practical buddhism • Views: 427

  • Know Why You Don’t Always Get What You Want?

    Let’s say you’ve set a goal for a new house. You’ve begun to chant about it.  Do you find your thinking going like this?

    I want a new house.
    I doubt I can get it.
    I want a new house but I don’t think I can afford it.
    I want a new house in this lovely neighborhood.
    My significant other says that isn’t realistic in view of my history.

    And so it goes….

    When you set the goal, you have started the process of attracting it to you. Your goal is the thought that is going to draw and shape that universal life-energy and bring it into your world. If you have thoughts that doubt you can get it, or say you can’t afford it, it’s as though you’ve held up your palm and told the universe to slow down.

    According to President Ikeda, “When your determination changes, everything will begin to move in the direction you desire.  The moment you resolve to be victorious, every nerve and fiber in your being will immediately orient itself towards your success. On the other hand if you think, “This is never going to work out,” then in that instant every cell in your being will be deflated and give up the fight.  Then everything really will move in the direction of failure. Faith into action, P. 108-109.

    Keep Giving Attention to What You Want

    Maybe your goal feels like too big a stretch and you don’t believe you can get there. Don’t give up. Take the first step towards your goal. Look at houses on the internet. As you look at the beautiful homes, let yourself dwell on what you want. Flesh it out in detail. Give attention to what you want. That attention continues to strengthen the desire. Brush away any thoughts to the contrary and turn your attention back to what you want.

    Develop the Details

    As you dream about your perfect house, add in the special details that would make it your home. Allow yourself to become excited about it. Know there will be the perfect house for you when the time is right.

    Don’t keep Looking at the Defects in Your Old House

    You’ve been living with what you don’t want. That’s why you decided to set the new goal. Don’t continue to look at the defects in the old house over and over to explain why you want a new one. When you keep giving attention to them, you are creating more of the same. Focus your mind on what you want and brush away what you don’t want. This is not always easy and often requires practice.

    What is Being Realistic?

    My significant other says I’m not being realistic in view of my history. Being realistic to him/her means looking at conditions as they have been in the past. If you continue to look at what-has -been, that is what you will continue to create. What you give your attention to, grows. Don’t you want to create a new reality, something new? To do that, you must keep your attention on what you want to have happen, the something new.

    The Material World is More Changeable Than You Think

    You often think that the way life looks on the surface it is the reality. When you do this you are forgetting that all of life at the quantum level is vibration and shaped by thought. It only looks immovable. But that’s not the reality. When you persist with your thought and stay focused on what you want the “immovable conditions of life” will give way to the new creation.

    You Set the Goal: The Universe Handles How to Get There

    It’s your job to set the goal. It is the job of the universe to take care of how you are going to get there. When you decide how it is going to happen, you set road blocks in the way of the universe doing its job. When you open your mind to all the possibilities, you may well be completely surprised by what develops, sometimes things you would never have imagined.

    A Personal Experience

    My husband and I bought a fixer upper and turned it into our dream home. Next to us was a house owned by an out-0f-state landlord who was letting the house deteriorate. The renters went from a nice family to multiple renters, one couple with substance abuse problems and a nurse in training.

    We chanted that the house would be bought by someone who would fix it up and make a nice home of it. For several months, nothing happened. We could have looked at what was and decided that we couldn’t influence it. Instead, we persisted chanting with our vision in mind. I remember saying to my husband that only an explosion would change the situation there. We just couldn’t see how our goal could happen.

    One day, there was an explosion. The nurse, collected the rent, and left town to consult with his aunt, a real estate attorney. The landlord arrived two days later in a high temper. It turned out the nurse had put the rent in escrow until the landlord fixed electrical problems, which were in danger of causing a fire. The landlord harassed everyone. When the nurse returned he slapped the landlord with a restraining order which forbade him to come around the house or talk to anyone involved. We had the landlord sitting on the wall in front of our house glaring at the nurse playing his guitar on the front step of his house at 1 A.M. Then we heard rumors of court action. In the space of three days, everyone left the house.

    Nothing happened for six months, while we continued to chant, our vision in mind. Then one day, Scott drove in. He was a contractor, and had bought the house with the intention of fixing it up and selling it. He turned that house into a beautiful family home and then sold it to a man who has been an outstanding landlord, who rented it to a nice family. Anything is possible!!!

    Summary:

    1. Remember your thoughts are the builder. They form  that life force/energy into what you envision.

    2. Look at at what you want, not what you don’t want.
    3. Practice getting rid of negative thoughts by returning your attention to what you want.
    4. Don’t worry about being realistic. That is only what-has-been and you don’t want to continue to create the same old thing.
    5. What appears unchangeable is an illusion. Everything can be changed when we turn our thought energy to it and chant about it.
    6. Be open that it can happen in ways you can’t imagine. Don’t tie down the creativity of the universe by structuring ‘how’ it is going to happen.
    7.  Set a goal and try the experiment.

  • I’ve Been chanting a Lot! Why Isn’t something Happening?

    Question: I’ve been chanting two hours a day about my goal but nothing seems to be happening. I don’t have any ideas about what to do.

    If this is the case, the following are some things to consider, as they can affect movement forward towards a goal.

    Recognizing Ideas

    Look for ideas relating to what you are chanting about during you’re chanting time, but also during the day. Ideas can come in many ways, books, people etc. If you are chanting about an issue, pay attention.

    3d render of signpost of words listen and ignore

    Are You Talking Yourself Out of Ideas?

    What do you do once an idea appears? Are you by any chance talking yourself out of ideas that come, because you don’t see how you would get from the beginning to the end? If this is the case, take the first step in the direction pointed out, even though you can’t see any further. That will allow you to see further down the path.

    Are You Taking Action?

    Chanting alone won’t take you where you want to go. The universe wants to support you but you must start taking action before that can happen. It’s like the rice farmer who chants for an abundant harvest, but never plants the rice. The universe works through us when we start to move forward.

    The Path Will Unfold Under Your Feet

    Sometimes we have to move forward not knowing where we are going. It’s like walking blind, and it requires faith in the process to take those steps. But when you begin first one step and then the next, you will be able to see further down the path. Its’ as though the path unfolds under your feet as you move forward.

    Rolling Out The Red Carpet

    When you take action the universe can support you.

    Let me give you an example. “I was talking with my friend about my uncertainty about how to market my book, Your Path to Unshakeable Happiness. She suggested I go to Womenspace, an agency that deals with domestic violence, and drop off two books. Since I had been chanting about this issue, and looking for answers, I followed up on her suggestion. A client read the book and loved it.

    That client participated in an addictions program as well. She requested that the recovery program have a Buddhist group there. We taught people, who then went to live all over the state. But if I had not paid attention to my friend’s idea, taken action in spite of my fears, and dropped off the books, none of this would have happened.

    Keep your eye on what you want to see happen, your goal. And as you take the first step chant about the second, then the third and so on. Then act on ideas as they come to you.

    Is Fear Stopping You?

    Sometimes we chant but don’t move forward because we are fearful of doing what is necessary to take the next step. Since we’re doing our human revolution it is natural that we might have fears when trying to expand our lives.

    Chant until you shift your life condition into courage. http://margaretblaine.com/three-steps-to-finding-courage/ Don’t procrastinate. Take the action that you are afraid of, quickly.

    Are You Focusing on the Obstacles or Your Goal?

    Ask yourself. Are you keeping your eye on the goal or dwelling on the obstacles? We have to remember that what we focus on we find, and what we focus on will grow. So do you want to manifest the obstacles or do you want to manifest your goal?

    While chanting, if you may become aware that your mind has gone to the obstacles, gently bring it back to what you want. Do this over and over, while you are chanting and also when you find yourself focusing on obstacles during the day. You are creating a new habit that will support you in moving towards your goals. In time you will find that it becomes easier to focus on what you want, not what you don’t want.

    Are You Resisting Personal Change?

    When we set a goal, we are saying, “This is the person I want to be.” That means you have declared your intention to grow. Now see all know that when we decide to grow there is going to be resistance. This is because our subconscious mind wants life to stay the way it is. http://margaretblaine.com/6-steps-to-making-personal-changes-when-chanting-for-a-goal For the first time, we see all the steps we are going to have to take. It would be so much more comfortable if change would just magically happen. But it isn’t magic.

    Chanting means we are going to change. If we are resisting it, then the goal can take much longer. Since often we are not aware this is happening, the linked article will help to recognize how we talk ourselves out of moving forward. (http://margaretblaine.com/resistance-personal-change-stop-achieving-goals/) Once we can recognize what we are doing, we can make a decision to do something differently, and continue to make progress.

    When you take these steps,  you will break through and things will start to move.

    Oneness of Self and the Environment

    We can’t stay the same and expect different results. That, I’ve been told, is the definition of insanity. Remember the Buddhist concept of ‘Oneness of Life and Its Environment’? http://margaretblaine.com/basics/oneness-of-life-and-its-environment/When we change, the environment around us changes. It happens from the inside out.

    Summary:

    If nothing is happening and you have been chanting about an issue, run through this checklist of considerations.

    1. Are you recognizing the ideas coming to you?
    2. Are you talking yourself out of ideas?
    3. Are you taking action?
    4. Are you letting the path unfold under your feet?
    5. Are you letting fear stop you?
    6. Are you focusing on the obstacles or your goal?
    7. Are you resisting personal change?
    8. Have you familiarized yourself with the Buddhist concept of oneness of life and its environment?
  • 5 Steps to Handling Your Resistance to Moving Forward

    In the last post we identified different ways we talk ourselves out of our goals when we hit our resistance to personal growth. Is Resistance to Personal Change Stopping You From Achieving Your Goals?

    I want to add one more way that you might talk yourself out of your goal.

    I Am in a Rut

    I know I should be doing this, or that but I’m not and that is just how things are. When the person in a rut runs into some sort of obstacle, gets frightened or overwhelmed, he just quits. He doesn’t blame anyone else, he just quits. To avoid feeling bad about himself he distracts himself with mindless activities.

    Don’t lower your standards. Instead raise them a little and take baby steps to move forward. Little by little you can do it.

    5 Steps to Continue to Move Forward When You Encounter Resistance

    1. Identify your resistance as it is happening.

    You have probably recognized your preferred method of resistance as you read through the examples in the last two posts. Then note how you feel when your resistance is active. For example, I feel reluctant to move forward or begin to find reasons why I shouldn’t have to do this project. Resistance can show in in an automatic unthinking behavior. For example – even with a weight loss goal you find yourself going down the candy isle without even thinking. Or, you might feel pushed to behave in a certain way in a situation and uncomfortable if you can’t behave that way.

    An Example

    Carl has made a determination and is chanting to adopt a way of eating that will support a 50 pound weight loss. He eats out often. His parents trained him to clean his plate and not waste money. We know that restaurants today serve portions that are double what we need. Carl automatically acts on his habit of overeating in restaurants due to his training. As this habit does not support his weight loss goal, he needs to develop a new habit -to eat until he is comfortable, and then stop.

    2. Make a Plan for Handling the Situation

    Creating your Plan A close-up of a keyboard with green highlighted text Plan

    Carl will have to create a plan for what he is going to do at the restaurant. He might remind himself to cut the plate in half and take one half home. He might ask the waitress to bring him half a plate and put the rest in a carry out box before she brings his meal to the table.

    If he has a full plate, he will need to catch himself as he starts to automatically overeat. If he feels uncomfortable at leaving food on the plate, he knows he is facing his resistance and there is some belief he needs to identify and change. He must learn to recognize the thought that pushes him into overeating.

    3. Develop a different way of talking to yourself

    Carl will need to develop a different belief leading to different self-talk. He must identify the thought leading to automatic overeating. “I don’t want to waste money.”  Then he needs to replace it with another such as,“When I take home half the meal I am not wasting it. I am increasing my food budget as I’ll have food tomorrow. Or, “The starving children abroad won’t be able to eat this anyway.”

    4. Find a role model that exemplifies what you are trying to achieve

    The phrase Find A Good Role Model typed on a piece of paper and pinned to a cork notice board

    Carl needs to find a slim role model and watch what that person does in a restaurant.

    5. Develop a habit interrupt.

    One person who had a weight loss goal discovered he was sabotaging his weight loss by automatically eating 2 fig bars at 4:00 in the afternoon at his desk. He justified this by
    saying he was hungry. By adding these 400 calories a day, he had started to gain weight.

    He interrupted the habit by putting the bars across the room so he would have to go and get them, giving him time to think about what he was doing. He also laid in a lower
    calorie snack.

    Address the Resistance and Keep Moving Forward

    No matter what the goal or what your resistance looks like, you can apply these five steps to get through your resistance so you can move forward, do your human revolution and achieve your goal.

    • Identify your preferred method of resistance
    • Make a plan for handling the resistance when it comes up
    • Develop a different way of talking to yourself.
    • Find a role model that exemplifies what you are trying to achieve.
    • Develop a habit interrupt.

    Keep moving forward toward your goal.

  • Is Resistance to Personal Change Stopping You From Achieving Your Goals?

    Talking yourself out of moving forward with your goals?  You’ve hit your resistance to personal change. Once you can recognize your preferred form of resistance then you can move through it. We all have resistance as I discussed in 6 Steps to Making Personal Changes When Chanting for a Goal. I suspect that one of the reasons people may not achieve their goals is because of falling into one of the following types of resistance. Without recognizing what is happening and what to do about it, they abandon their goal.

    According to Rod Hairiston, coach and trainer, the following are the main ways we talk ourselves out of a goal I am sharing them with you, as recognizing my own method of resistance, has allowed me to follow through with goals I would have abandoned otherwise.

    Catagories of Resistance

    I Am A Victim

    The first is being a victim and seeing yourself as being at the mercy of all circumstances, people and situations around you.  The victim will give their power away to say, ”My hands are tied. I can’t move forward until he changes first.’ Or “I can’t get a good job until the economy gets better.”

    Hands of a missing kidnapped abused hostage victim woman tied up with rope in emotional stress and pain afraid restricted trapped call for help struggle terrified locked in a cage cell.

    In Nichiren Buddhism, we know that we create our reality from the inside out, oneness of self and environment.  You are not at the mercy of anyone or any circumstance.  Take back your power and “ability to respond” and change what you thinking and doing to support what you want.

    Is There Something Else?

    You are convinced there is something out there that will help you get the results you want. You are flexible and upbeat. Once the initial excitement of setting a new goal wears off and you find out what is actually going to be required for your goal, you  drop the goal  and look for the next book or seminar.

    Concept Handwritten With Chalk On A Blackboard.

    You need to work on internal confidence and stick with one goal in order to grow to the next level. Make a commitment to say with what you’re doing for an extended, defined period of time to develop your emotional muscle. Develop self-talk and find models that will allow you to persist.

    I Don’t Like Change

    Your highest priority is finding certainty, keeping things the way they have always been. You don’t like change. But the only way you can achieve your goals and grow to Buddhahood is through personal change. That is what human revolution is all about.

    Cartoon of business boss saying to his staff, I don't want to change. I want all of you to change.

    You know from Nichiren Buddhism that the unchanging rock, to stand on, is inside you. Remind yourself, everything else can change but you always have that stability.

    I Am Going to Push Thru Right Direction or Not

    Change is needed but you don’t know what the right decision is or how to do it. So you escape
    into a flurry of activity. You make a decision and stick to it whether or not you’re getting the

    Egoist, Arrogant, and Stubborn Boss. A hand drawn vector cartoon illustration of a boss with bad attitude.
    results you want. You don’t want to hear that there might be a better way.
    Remember if you’ve made a decision that isn’t working out, it’s not a reflection on you. It just
    means it’s time to try a different path.

    I Am Always Stressed

    Portrait of a mature stressed woman

    You are always hurrying thru your journey not enjoying it. You always think you have to
    achieve this or that before you can relax.

    You need to understand that life is about happily achieving, not achieving to be happy. Enjoy
    the journey.

    I Wear A Mask

    You only let other people see what you want them to see. You feel like a fraud and that other
    people will find you out. When you hit the hard reality of what your goal is going to require, you
    lie about how you are feeling – trying to look ok to everyone even though you feel things are
    falling apart.

    People aren’t really thinking about you. You need to acknowledge your own worth first and
    learn to like yourself. Then the opinion of others won’t matter very much.

    Getting it Together

    As we come to recognize how we resist moving forward, a new person emerges. . He or she makes a determination and has a strong “why” for what he is doing. This person meets obstacles by continuing to move forward at a comfortable pace, one step at a time. He works in small bite sized pieces which when repeated over and over grow into habits which support his goals.

    Background concept wordcloud illustration of meaningful life

    If he stops moving forward he examines what is happening but doesn’t put himself down for it. He examines his beliefs and if there is a better way to reach his goal he takes it.
    He knows he needs to keep moving forward, practicing positive attitudes and actions, finding good models to learn from and growing a little each day. He knows that his unconscious mind will turn into his ally once those constructive attitudes and actions turn into unconscious, automatic habits. He knows that once built, these constructive habits will make it easier for him to reach his goals.

    Personal Experience

    When I hit difficulties with goals and developed resistance to completing them, I looked for something else, the next tape or seminar, while abandoning the goal I had been so excited about. Once I learned to recognize this pattern as it was happening, then I knew what I had to do when working on a new project. Just gear in there and stick with it one step at a time. I chose to use as a role model a person who demonstrates this one step at a time approach.  Then I developed self talk  such as, ” This doesn’t happen over night.  Just take a step forward every day.” Since then I have been completing goals, from which I would have backed away previously. Your preferred method may be one of the others described in this post.

    You Can Get it Together

    Set a goal.  When you hit resistance to moving forward:

    1. Identify your preferred method of resisting change as it is happening.

    2. Find models you can emulate.
    3. Develop a way of talking to yourself that will allow you to move forward.

  • Challenging Goal? Add Leverage to Create Momentum

    Have you ever found that you set a goal, one that makes you stretch,  then found yourself forgetting to chant about it or finding reasons why you don’t want it after all? You might develop doubts that you can ever achieve it. You have encountered the normal resistance we all face when we start to grow. I discussed this in my last post, “Steps to Making Personal Changes When Chanting for a Goal.”

    Ask, Why Do I Want This Goal?

    Ask yourself , “Do I have strong reasons for setting this goal, strong enough to make it a determination rather than just a wish?” Did something happen in your life to push you set this goal? For example:
     Did you set a goal to become fit because you had a health scare?
     Do you have a strong desire to contribute to the world in some way, to accomplish something important to you?

    Man Hand writing What Is Your Reason? with black marker on visual screen. Isolated on background. Business technology internet concept. Stock Photo
     Are you facing a serious problem that you must solve?
     Are you trying to forge a new, expanded identity?
     Do you want to overcome a weakness?

    Remind yourself of all the reasons you set this goal to begin with. Write them down to remind yourself. A strong non-negotiable “why” can make all the difference when you hit your resistance to change.

    Add Some Leverage    

    Man moving up graphic with help of lever. Metaphoric

    Since you wanted the goal initially, create some leverage to get yourself back on track.

    Leverage can come in many forms and gives us the additional boost we need to keep us from slipping into old patterns. Leverage can help us overcome the reluctance to move forward. Some examples:
     Put a list of your reasons for setting this goal on your altar.
     Share your goal with a partner or your Buddhist group.
     You might announce that you are setting this goal at a discussion meeting and then report back once a month on your progress or lack there of.
     Ask a friend to hold you accountable for taking steps.
     Set a challenge for yourself like signing up for a race or attending a class at the gym. Maybe you have to hire a trainer or an online coach to hold you accountable
     Set a drop-dead date by which you will have completed your goal.
     Reward yourself after taking a step that is a challenge

    My Experience

    Before writing my first books, I had a history of loving the beginning of a project, but then losing motivation and follow through. When I wrote my first books, I had strong non-negotiable reasons for writing them. My writing critique group gave me the leverage I needed to write on a regular basis, provided regular deadlines for submitting my work, and encouraged me. My chanting practice kept me on track by giving me topic ideas. My prayer kept my end goal in front of me. Short daily Buddhist readings showed me what I had to address in myself to be successful.

    All of these things gave me the boost that I needed to keep moving forward when I engaged with my resistance to the personal growth required. Leverage can help you
    too and then you will experience success with that difficult goal.

    Excited, happy girl giving thumbs up showing success, isolated on pink background.

  • 6 Steps to Making Personal Changes When Chanting for a Goal

    Setting a Goal

    Man Hand writing Lets Get Started with black marker on visual screen. Isolated on white. Business technology internet concept. Stock Photo

    When we envision a goal, chant about it, and embark on it, we don’t usually know what it will require of us. We are excited.

    Reality Sets In

    It’s when we start to take action, that the reality of what it is going to take sets in. We discover what we are going to have to do, the ways we might have to change, the ways we will have to grow. This is the point where true change can occur and we can begin to forge a new, expanded identity.

    It’s also the sticking point where we encounter our resistance to change. All of our lives we’ve learned from the people and society around us. They’ve told us what’s right and wrong, how to do things, our capabilities, what our roles are, who we are, our place in the world, and what our limits are.

    These beliefs will be challenged when you take on a goal. And it’s not comfortable.

    Don't Limit Your Challenges - Challenge Your Limits - Workout Motivation - Fitness Center - Motivational Quote - Sport Illustration - Inspirational - Card Calligraphy Art - Typography - Background Template

    This discomfort is the beginning of change, so celebrate it.

    Have You Abandoned a Goal Due to Discomfort?

    We develop self-doubt and find ways to talk ourselves out of our goal so we can remain in our comfort zone. Discomfort is a normal part of the process but I suspect that many goals are dropped at this point because when we focus on our doubts, we find reasons to justify them, and we abandon the goal.

    This is when it’s time to really gear in with your chanting. It will raise your life condition and give you ideas on the changes necessary.

    As a former counselor for twenty-five years, dealing with behavioral change, there are many things from my former profession which can also help us achieve our goals and gain benefit. The first is understanding how the conscious and subconscious minds work.

    The Conscious Mind

    The conscious mind is the part of the mind we are aware of everyday.  We use it to plan, set goals and run our lives.  It’s like the 20% of an iceberg we see on the surface of the water.

    iceberg 3d illustration background with sea and blue sky

    The conscious mind is our cybernetic guidance system. Before you take an action the conscious mind sets up an image. If you don’t consciously create one, then it will unconsciously create one based on early conditioning, which may undercut what you are trying to achieve.

    The Subconscious Mind

    The subconscious mind lives below our awareness.  It is subterranean, like the 80% of the iceberg below water.  It controls automatic behaviors, like breathing,and digestion and behaviors which have become automatic.

    Behaviors become automatic through repetitious training, doing something or hearing something over and over. When given the right stimulus, automatic behaviors lock in without our even thinking about it. Initially a behavior is conscious but after many repetitions it becomes unconscious and we do it automatically. This is how we develop the habits which support us or hinder us as we move toward a goal.

    For example, think of how you learned to walk, play a sport, or drive a car. Think of the many times your parents told you not to waste money when you didn’t want to finish your meal. In response you learned to automatically clean the plate. Your subconscious mind has developed many, many such habits, which define the person you are in the present.

    When we set a goal that old conditioning and the new opportunity clash.

    The unconscious mind is protecting you from change. But your conscious mind knows it is time for change.

    Harnessing Your Subconscious to Work For You

    Let’s say you are starting a business that is going to require you to consistently contact people. You goal is to become financially free. When you encounter the reality of the work, you realize that you have been inconsistently with follow through in the past. For you to build this business you are going to have to develop the habit of consistency.

    Building the necessary behavioral changes to support your goal is a challenge. You start out to do what you need to do in the business, but old habits die hard. The old habit is to stay in bed, not get up at 7AM to call people on the other coast. You talk yourself out of getting up and your business goes downhill. You take on the challenge and make a determination to call two people a day, five days a week. Now your self-talk needs to change. From “I’m just going to stay in bed this one day.” to “Making two calls today will move me towards my goal.” And you climb out of bed. The whole change feels difficult. The old habit was easy, the new one hard.

    At this point you need to remind yourself that success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out, one small behavioral change repeated until it becomes unconscious. When thathappens your unconscious mind acts without you even having to think about it. Before, your unconscious had you act on a habit that pulled you away from your vision, staying in bed. Now through repetition you have created a habit that pulls you toward your vision, getting up and making your calls. What is hard at the beginning becomes easy in the end.

    A Personal Example

    I had a vision to become fit. Going to the gym was a struggle that lasted for over a year. I had to make myself accountable to a trainer to make me open that gym door. At some point going to the gym four days a week became a way of life and I looked forward to it. The habit of working out had become automatic. The struggle was over, and my new habit supported my new, expanded identity of being a fit person.

    6 Steps to Making the Personal Changes Needed to Reach Your Goal

    1. Chant for your new goal.
    2. Make a determination it is going to happen no matter what.
    3. Celebrate when your reluctance to move forward arrives. Remind yourself it is normal and the beginning of change, of doing your human revolution.
    4. Chant about it and thru self-reflection identify a small behavioral or attitudinal change needed.
    5. Follow through with that small change over and over.
    6. When it becomes automatic, note that what was hard has become easy. Remind yourself this will happen with the next change. Keep on keeping on.

  • Can’t Chant for a Goal? What do You Do?

    Overwhelming Circumstances?

    What do you do if your life circumstances are so overwhelming that you can’t even formulate a goal? Sometimes this can happen when you are mourning a loss of an important relationship, or your life circumstances are such that you don’t even know where to begin, Perhaps you have felt disconnected from your practice, or you’re depressed. Whatever it is, setting a goal doesn’t seem possible.

    Sad little child boy hugging his mother at home isolated image copy space. Family concept

    Hit By Major Change? Give Yourself Time

    That can happen to any of us. If you have experienced a major change, you might just have to chant and let your life reform around you over time. When something major has shifted in our lives we need to take time to come to terms with the changes. When you allow yourself to process what has happened, you will find your direction in time.

    Chant and Raise Your Life Condition

    Just chanting without a specific goal can also allow you to raise your life condition so you can handle your life circumstances more easily. Being able to pull ourselves out of the lower internal worlds and into a higher one is one of the great values of the practice. We don’t have to continue to stay in these hellish places for a long time.

    Chant and Feel the Pain

    Sometimes, while chanting, we just have to open our hearts and let our pain flow out. On occasion we might just have to sit in front of the Gohonzon and cry. One member described this after losing a close family member. “All I could do was sit and cry.” That was my chanting time.” Allowing her pain to flow was the beginning of healing. Whatever you do during your chanting time, will be of value to your life when you are working through situations such as these.

    No Overwhelming Circumstances but Resisting Moving Forward?

    What if we just don’t feel like chanting for a goal, and nothing major has happened? We might be actively resistant due to the fear of failing. Perhaps we are resisting making the internal changes we know are going to have to happen in order to take the next step forward. One member said to me, “I haven’t been doing much chanting even though I know it works. Maybe this is self-sabotage.” Perhaps we have become complacent and don’t want to make any effort. If any of these are happening you are probably dealing with the fundamental darkness in your life, that part of you which actively resists moving forward. We all have it, but we don’t want to let it dominate.

    Business cartoon of meeting, a chart with declining sales and business leader who says, ' what if we don't change anything at all.... and something magical just happens'.

    Pay Attention to What is Happening

    Identify what is happening. We tend to deny that this kind of resistance is, in fact, occurring. We don’t want to give it up, so we think up excuses for why we are remaining stuck. These excuses seem real, when we don’t want to look. If you find yourself blaming anything or anyone outside of yourself, you are using some of those excuses.

    Resistance is Normal. Keep Pushing Through

    It’s important to realize that this kind of resistance is the beginning of real change. You have started to take the steps to become a better and stronger you. Resistance is a normal part of the process.

    Steps to Deal with Resistance

    • Give yourself the support of other practitioners. Don’t keep your struggle all bottled up and retreat from the group. Instead share what is going on in your life. Sometimes just expressing what is going on, will serve to break the dam so you can move forward. You might hear just the thing you need to hear to pushMan Hand writing Don't Resist Change Embrace It! with black marker on visual screen. Isolated on office. Business technology internet concept. you off of dead center, such as an experience of another member, or a new way of understanding.
    • Study to deepen your faith.
    • Keep pushing through. Have a determination, renew it daily, and make yourself accountable to someone by sharing it. That will help to maintain your motivation. I was very resistant when I started to go to the gym. I made myself accountable by getting a trainer. It took me a year and a half before my resistance to opening that gym door fell away. My new identity, being a fit person, had locked in and started pushing me to go. This will happen to you too, as your new and stronger identity locks in.

    Summary:

    Sometimes you can’t set goals because of dealing with a major life situation. Then just keep chanting until you find a way through.  But, if you have active resistance to moving forward and there is no major life situation, you know you are experiencing the normal resistance to growth and change.  Create a determination, make yourself accountable by sharing it, and keep pushing through.

    September 15, 2016 • Buddhism In Daily Life, chanting practice, handling goals, personal growth • Views: 577

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