If you've ever tried to make a positive change in your life - maybe shifting a negative habit or a limiting belief - you know that it can be easier said than done. It would be nice if we could just flip a switch and be New & Improved (with 30% fewer calories!), but life typically doesn't work that way.
Think of making a positive change in terms of creating a new habit. Maybe you want to stop being so self-critical, or stop being such a perfectionist, or stop being so argumentative (or any one of a bazillion other changes you might want to make).
Make change a process
Instead of expecting yourself to make that change all at once - both noticing when it happens and immediately swapping out the new for the old - think of it as happening in stages.
Notice: First things first. If what you're trying to change is such an ingrained thing that it's what you naturally do without even noticing it, your first task is to start noticing it every time it happens. A habit is mighty hard to change if you don't notice what you're doing.
See the alternative: Noticing it consistently is a good start, but it's not enough. You have to be conscious of the alternative.
Implement the alternative: Ultimately your goal is to put the new alternative into action. But even if you do a) notice it and b) see the alternative, it can be a challenge to make that change on the fly. Especially if what you are trying to change is an ingrained knee-jerk reaction.
Do an End-of-Day Review
A great tool to facilitate that positive change process is the End-of-Day Review. It's a way to take your change out of real-time and give yourself more time with it. It's simple. Every day, at the end of the day, spend a few minutes looking back at your day and ask, "Where did the old habit pop up?"
If you're in the "noticing" phase, don't worry about anything else at first. Just start training your brain to recognize when it happens. The more you practice you have seeing it in your End-of-Day Review, the more readily you will recognize it when it actually happens.
If you're trying to get better at seeing the alternatives, The End-of-Day Review is a great place to explore that. Each time you see the old habit cropping up, ask yourself, "What would an alternative have been? How could I have reacted to that? What are some different ways of looking at that?"
The more practice your brain has running through positive optinos, the more readily it will be able to gravitate to those options when it really counts.