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Monday, April 13, 2009

Bad Habits? Sell Yourself Some Good Ones

Picture your conscious mind as somewhat like a man riding an elephant. The man is in charge only as long as the elephant doesn't mind.

In the same way, you can only make conscious decisions as long as your unconscious doesn't mind. And unfortunately, your unconscious mind tends to feel uncomfortable with anything new or with any significant change of behavior. So, your unconscious mind will resist almost any change you try to make and quickly return you to your old ways or habits - effectively defeating your conscious decision to improve your behavior.

If you try to use self discipline and willpower to enforce your conscious decisions, you will mostly only trigger greater unconscious resistance. (Have you ever decided that you were absolutely not going to eat dessert with dinner, only to find yourself eating two desserts, instead?)
So, how do you get this very independent and stubbornly contrary unconscious mind to do what you want? To allow you to act how you want to act? Fortunately, there is a simple proven model for you to follow.

But before we discuss this model, let me ask you another question.

Who makes a living by getting you to take the specific actions they want you to take?

Yes. Sales, Advertising, and Marketing professionals. And what is their secret method for getting you to take action?

They sell to your unconscious mind, not to your conscious mind.

They all use variations of a very simple script. It's simple, but it works. And the good news is, you can use the same simple template to 'sell' behavioral changes to your own unconscious. And once your unconscious mind is sold on the changes, it will decide, on its own, to take actions to implement the new behavior that it has bought into and is all excited about.

So, what makes an effective sales pitch? A sales pitch is only effective if it gets you to take action. Advertising, Marketing, and Sales professionals make a living at getting you to act - and they have it down to a science.

The secret process can be distilled down to a few simple steps. In fact, the entire strategy of an effective sales pitch is to accomplish these six goals...

Evoke strong negative emotions (like fear, insecurity, envy, greed, etc.) to get you (your unconscious) feeling really distressed about your current situation.

Tie those bad feelings to your current behavior.

Evoke strong positive emotions (like freedom, success, pride, etc.) and connect those emotions to your distressful situation being resolved.

Tie losing your bad feelings and gaining the good feelings to switching to the desired behavior.

Supply your conscious mind with the logical reasons (rationalizations) it needs to explain and feel good about the decision (made unconsciously) to change behavior.

Call for specific immediate action.

The result is that you want to act (unconsciously), and you can easily justify the action (consciously), so you act (and the salesman gets his commission).

The sales model starts with the desired action and then tries to tie it to emotions and rationalizations that will work on the salesman's target (you). Generally the salesman doesn't really know much about you, so he has to construct this approach based on a lot of assumptions.

If you use this model on yourself, you have several advantages that will actually make you more effective than the sales pros in changing your own behavior.

You know what new behavior you want, plus you already know what logical reasons you have for making the change. And, you know (or can discover) more about what evokes the strong negative and positive emotions in your own unconscious that will create the emotional desire to take action.