Action is a Verb

How Reconnection Leads to Real Change
A fork in a raised wooden boardwalk through the woods

I’d like to believe that a sizable portion of our world population recognizes that Earth is losing natural resources faster than is sustainable for the long term survival of all Life. And yet, if so many of us realize this truth, why aren’t more of us making use of our power to change how we personally live? We can’t wait for someone else to save us. No single government, technological genius, or superhero will emerge from the sidelines with the perfect answer to our woes. It’s up to each of us to make a drastic shift in our priorities towards living in a way that takes all life into consideration, to effect meaningful results. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness lead to inaction, which only serves to worsen our current situation. Taking action energizes us, making us more effective. We’re not giving up anything of value by shifting from a human-centered, consumer-based perspective to an interconnected, symbiotic existence. Instead, this would be a beneficial exchange where we’re replacing our distorted, short-term lifespan vision with generations of abundant, joyful existence for all.

So where do we start? First, we take a personal inventory of our lifestyle choices and challenge them with related facts. For example, where does our food come from? Our clothing? How much do we consume and throw away? What do we need versus want? Who and what do we vote for and why? Take time to examine day to day choices and ask if we’re helping or hurting our environment. For virtually every decision we make, there’s an impact of varying magnitude on other beings. That impact can lead to a tiny ripple of consequences or build toward tsunamic effect.

Then, we accept accountability for our choices and the effects—positive or negative—on our expanded sense of community that includes all living beings. As we perform this honest self-examination, we also open our hearts to what we’re gaining by embracing a new way of Life: reconnection with all of our planet’s ecosystems and the wildlife that is part of our true nature and the joy that follows.

Admittedly, making an informed commitment to change ingrained beliefs is easier said than done. While we keep our focus on the priceless results, we can integrate proven mechanisms to keep us on the right path. Clinical psychologist Christine Li, Ph.D. offers insight and support for making new habits stick: “Old habits are hard to break, in part, because they are tied to our identity and because change is inherently difficult. To break out of old patterns, you must first understand how habits work and believe in your capacity for personal revolution.”

Dr. Li recommends that we use these tried-and-true techniques to become a master of our habits:

  • Start small. Aiming for drastic change is a common mistake. Start by setting a goal or plan that is doable, limited, and singular.
  • Apply effort. No matter how tiny the goal, pursue the habit as if it is non-negotiable. Yes, it’s important to elevate the new habit to that level.
  • Believe in yourself. You can’t set your vision or truly apply effort if you don’t believe in your ability to change. Anyone can instill new patterns in their life for good. Believing in yourself also comes down to habit—practice being kind and patient with yourself. It will help you show up for yourself confidently and reliably.
  • Retrain your brain. Fight, fight, fight! Old habits don’t want to die. As you work on changing your habits, old ones will rage and roar. When we slack off with our new habits, the old ones are ready to pounce. To change a habit, you’ll need to consciously retrain the part of you that is connected with old patterns. Adopt the right mindset for change by repeating an affirming statement like, “I release the old habit because I prefer the new habit.” [1]

Changing a habit, especially one that is deeply ingrained, feels difficult because we’re changing our identity to fit the new behavior. As daunting as the task might be, remember that life is our creation. When we believe that we control your thoughts and behavior, our mind and body will align to support your desires.

[1] The content for this article was derived, in part, from the ADDitude ADHD Experts webinar titled “Revenge Bedtime Procrastination: How Women with ADHD Can Break the Cycle of Delayed Sleep and Stress” [Video Replay & Podcast 382] with Christine Li, Ph.D., and Tracy Otsuka, JD, LLM, AACC, which was broadcast live on December 8, 2021.

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