What is reprogramming? My personal definition of reprogramming is the deliberate effort to change or improve our habits, behaviours, ways of thinking and the language that we use to deal with the past, present and the future in new and
different ways. Our brains become ‘programmed’ or ‘trained’ unconsciously when we are young children and as we grow up. Our unconscious mind is influenced by parents, family, friends, mass media (music, arts, TV and films, culture), teachers, people of influence etc. Other words for re-programming are re-train, re-code, re-imprint, un-learn and i’m sure there are plenty others.
Words have an immense power to them and we don’t realise how swiftly they can shape what we believe to be true. When the old ideas, beliefs, mindsets and attitudes no longer serve us positively, or if we want to improve them, we can ‘reprogram’ ourselves so we have new ideas, beliefs, mindsets and attitudes that now DO serve us.
Here are some ways to reprogram your mind:
1. Positive thinking. Positive thinking is just a re-frame where any situation that is less than favourable, you think of it in a new and positive way. I used to be a huge positive thinker until I realised that it was hurting me mentally. I was in denial of what things were really like, and would jump waaay too quickly to try and reframe the situation before I’d even made sense of it first.
There is a time for positive thinking, and then there is a time for seeing things exactly as they are, painful, hopeless and sad as they may, and accepting that. THEN, and only then can you effectively use this reframe of positive thinking to reprogram yourself. Delusion has a purposeful place!
2. Meditation-spend time on your own, listening to your breathe or your heart beat, connecting with your inner world on a regular basis so that you create internal space for new thoughts to come through. Meditation is a great way to encourage new beliefs about yourself, such as ‘I am worthy’, ‘I am good enough’, ‘I am deserving’.
3. Change your diet and exercise regime so it is tipped more on the side of healthier eating, and regular exercise.
4. Doing something different everyday. If you want to reprogram yourself out of your old habits and beliefs to discover a new you (which is essentially what reprogramming is all about) then always do something different-walk a different
route to work, take the stairs instead of the escalator, buy a different type of lunch everyday, wear a different colour item of clothing or accessory everyday, speak to someone different for a brief conversation-they may have a helpful perspective to offer you.
5. Get really good at asking questions; of yourself, and of others. Questions can break us out of a habit of unhelpful streams of thought. Questions allow you to tap into your unconscious mind so you have to find new answers (just be careful about deep probing with others!). The more you ask yourself questions, the more you’ll start to create new empowering beliefs about yourself.
6. Challenge your limiting beliefs as they come up. By asking ‘Is this really true? Really? What if what I believe is a lie, is untrue and something better is actually the truth?”
7. Invest in yourself financially by buying personal development books, signing up for relevant on line courses, joining supportive online communities etc.
8. Seek help from professionals for deep seated issues and stay the course no matter how hard and tough it may feel. If you want to reprogram/retrain your brain then you have to show your old programming that sticking with something tough will reap rewards in the long term.Your unconscious mind wants to support you. Forgive, find compassion and unconditional love for yourself and others.
9. Make bold choices and decisions about things that may no longer be making you happy such as a job, home or relationships and whether it’s time to move away from them (mentally and/or physically). It may be that prevailing belief systems, ideas and habits are no longer supporting you. You may need to consider whether you need to change your friendships and intimate relationships, IF and only if they are unwilling to support you as you make your bold changes to upgrade your belief system. You could always not say anything and just go about evolving as a person over time and do your best not to be too affected by others. Then lead by example.
10. Do the things you have always wanted to do but felt you can’t for some reason-there’s no time like the present! Travel, write a book, bake a cake, get a pet, talk to someone you’d like to get to know better.
11 . Always make time for yourself. Me-time is crucial as you’re trying to reprogram yourself because your changes may happen really quickly and time to yourself is time to reflect on those changes as they come about.
12 . Stand firm in your self-belief and conviction that the happiness/results you desire will come as you make create new beliefs about yourself, make new decisions and choices to become a better version of you.
13 . Have no expectations of time and how long it will take to reprogram yourself in a small area of your life. It may take a few months, 5 years, I 0, 30 years who knows? Go with the flow, and stay determined on making positive changes to reprogram your brain/unconscious and it’s old habits and ways of doing things.
14 . Read inspirational books, listen to motivational podcasts, films and TED talks (I love TED!)
15. Look for real life exemplars of people who have overcome the things that you are going through.An exemplar’s life story may serve a strong purpose of helping you to overcome your own struggles, challenges and fears and enable you to step up.
16. Get focused on achieving success whatever that may look like for you, over a long period of time. Maybe studying a part-time evening course to learn a new skill or a language, doing a long term, part-time paid or voluntary position, setting up a business, getting promoted, moving house, etc. The ideal way to get focused over the long-term is to set out to make a dream come true-it’s possible!
It is absolutely possible to retrain/reprogram your brain, to some extent. I spent most of my life retraining and reprogramming old limiting beliefs, ideas and behaviours that were not serving me positively, until I trained in NLP a few years ago. However, willpower and determination can only take you so far and it’s not easy. More importantly though, it is possible.
Imagine the person you want to be, and if you want to be that person enough, you’ll always do whatever it takes to make it happen. Be gentle and compassionate!