Have you tried to make changes to your life and been disappointed?
Fellow coach and colleague Sandi Amorim has written a best selling book about the process of making change in your life that she guides readers through titled, “The 100 Day Promise.” Today I’m pleased to share an interview with Sandi about the book and what it takes to create permanent change in your life.
Why did you focus on a promise rather than a challenge?
The idea for The 100 Day Promise came to me when I realized I was having the same conversation over and over again with clients and people going through my online programs. Many of them were discouraged because, in spite of a strong desire to change, they weren’t able to create lasting change.
In my research, I discovered that while we’re told that change happens in 21 days, the average length of success in forming a habit is sixty-six days, and can be as long as 254 days. This twenty-one day myth has become an overused cliché and stops people from sticking with their desired change if they don’t see results quickly. The energy I wanted to create was one of a journey rather than a challenge, and the idea of the promise stuck when I learned the original meaning of the word is to send a pledge into the future. So what we do at the start of the 100 days is send a promise – a desire to change that’s important to us – into the future, and then focus on that for the duration.
In your book The 100 Day Promise, you talk about the myth of overnight success. What does this refer to?
I think the overnight success is most visible in the online world, and what it refers to is marketing that makes it seem like instant success or a quick fix is guaranteed when you purchase a program or service. Overpromising has become the norm in online marketing, and I believe it’s had a negative impact on our confidence and ability to follow through.
We buy a product or service because we want what it promises, and we have good intentions, but what’s missing is information on how the process of change actually works. Results don’t usually appear as easily or as quickly as promised, and we don’t often hear about the work that led to the transformation. We almost never hear about the effort involved to reach success, and that colors our expectations. If you’ve tried and failed in previous attempts to change, this only serves to trigger judgment and self-recrimination.
What is the Cycle of Change?
In my work I’ve noticed that there’s often an assumption that change requires a dramatic shift. We’re led to believe that if we’re given the right kind of training, information, or education, then change will be quick and effective. The truth is often the opposite, the reality for many of us is that our attempts at change fail and instead of looking for what was missing in the process, we look inward and find fault with ourselves. This sets up a vicious cycle that’s hard to break on our own.
In the book Changing for Good, Dr. James Prochaska discovered (after working with thousands of patients) that there are natural steps we go through when attempting to change. What’s valuable about knowing this cycle is that no matter what area of life you want to change, you go through these stages every time.
The Stages Of Change
You’re not even thinking about changing. You may even be defensive about your behaviour.
You admit there’s a problem and you think about overcoming it.
You’ve decided to change. You plan to take action. You may even feel inspired and motivated.
You’re energized and committed to changing your behaviour.
You recognize that you need to put in ongoing effort to maintain the change. It seems like a lot of work, but you know it’s worth it, and you’ve even begun to feel proud of yourself.
- Relapse (Recycling)
You “re-cycle” by returning to the contemplation or preparation stage to prepare once again for action. You may want to deepen the change or begin a new cycle with another promise.
How does the Hero’s Journey relate to the 100 Day Promise?
The hero’s journey is a metaphor that can help you personalize your journey. Elements of it are everywhere if you look; from fairy tales and soap operas to dramatic movies and your own life. I love how Joseph Campbell’s wisdom can be applied to any circumstance, and in this way you address your own hero’s journey.
You are both the author and the hero of your story, and the hero’s journey helps you to see that you are not at the mercy of your circumstances, unless you choose to be. That can be hard to accept, but as horrible or challenging as your circumstances might seem, I promise you there’s always a choice and a way out. The hero’s journey acts as a kind of road map as you step onto your 100 day commitment.
How do limiting beliefs stop us?
Beliefs play such an important role in the 100 Day Promise. I start by having people get to the real truth about their beliefs. These three questions are a good place to begin:
- Where do your beliefs come from?
- Why do you believe what you believe?
- Why are you more likely to believe negative or limiting beliefs?
When you begin to understand where beliefs come from it helps you regain some control over them.
A limiting belief is a belief you have about yourself, other people, or the world that holds you back and robs you of your power. The hard thing about limiting beliefs is that you might even know intellectually that they’re not true, and yet you believe them anyway. Limiting beliefs can keep you from keeping your promise, and most of the time, they’re hidden from your view.
That’s why having a strong desire to change is not enough. You may think that if you know what you want, the path to getting it will also be clear and easy. That’s what we’re led to believe. However, this isn’t true if your unconscious limiting beliefs are driving your actions.
Why are we more likely to believe negative or limiting beliefs?
In Buddha’s Brain, psychologist and brain researcher Dr. Rick Hanson says our brains are “Velcro for negativity and Teflon for positivity.” We have a physiological bias toward negativity. Negative experiences stick, while positive experiences slide right off.
Being wired for negativity makes the process of change harder. This is the way our brains work. Fighting against this bias is pointless, so for change to happen, we need to work around it.
Why is the language we use important when creating a promise or a goal?
Steve Maraboli said, “Fuel yourself with positivity and let that fuel propel you into positive action.” Your words are fuel and they matter. They can nourish and breathe life into your promise or they can weigh you down and put out the flame.
Words have energy, and I offer a couple of exercises in the book and program to help people discover what motivates them to take action and follow through.
How do core values and core desired feelings help people change?
We all have an inner guidance system, or intuition as Angela calls it. There are aspects of ourselves that can act as internal guides, but only when we know what they are. I believe these aspects include values, and core desired feelings.
Values are important because they motivate you from the inside out. They’re at the heart of every major decision you make – even when you aren’t aware of it. And the phrase core desired feeling refers to the feeling you most want to feel in relationship to your promise. Your promise needs to live in language and emotion which is what creates the fuel I mentioned earlier.
Knowing what’s important and how you want to feel is essential; otherwise, taking action turns into robotic doing.
How and why is ritual important to the 100 day process?
The act of creating a ritual, along with a daily devotion to it, will help you connect more deeply with your promise. A ritual can help you become more aware and engaged in everyday moments, and provide meaning, connection to others, and, often, a deeper understanding of your promise and why it’s important to you.
It’s up to you to bring importance and meaning to your ritual. In those moments when it’s inconvenient, or you don’t feel like taking action, having a ritual can make all the difference in keeping you on track.
What’s missing for many people when they reach a goal?
What’s often missing for people when they reach a goal is a sense of accomplishment. Many of us are too quick to move onto the next thing, and in doing so we miss an opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments.
Acknowledgement and celebration are an important part of the transformation. It develops your ability to follow through and strengthens your confidence with each small win, which leads to becoming more capable of taking on greater promises in future. This is what’s known in the cycle of change as self-efficacy: the belief that you can do whatever you set out to do.
What’s the focus of your next online 100 Day Promise?
Our focus from July 6 to October 14 is self-love. So we’ve got 100 days to create and realize a promise relating to self-love. I’m really looking forward to exploring how the structure of the program can support people in deepening their relationship with themselves.
Sandi Amorim is a Master Coach, NLP Practitioner, and author of the Amazon bestseller, The 100 Day Promise. Her passion for freedom has led to twenty years studying human potential: what makes us tick, what keeps us stuck, and most importantly, what helps us thrive. A pioneer in the coaching industry, she has transformed countless lives with her message that effective change requires an inner revolution. She can be found online at SandiAmorim.com and The100DayPromise.com.
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