Updated: Jan 21, 2019
So for those of you who didn’t read my last blog post, I wrote about how my self-sabotaging brain was stopping me from believing I could achieve my goals, and boy did that one resonate with a lot of you.
Since uploading that post, 2019 is in full swing and after jumping on the 'new year, new me' bandwagon, I have decided that January is now officially my favourite time of year. Now, I like to consider myself as the type of person who would turn around and say ‘Hey! Starting a new year is the same as every other day, you shouldn’t need the excuse of a new year to change your habits!’. However, as much as I support that statement, I really do believe that having the closing of an old chapter and wiping your slate clean is a lot easier to do alongside other people doing the same. Being able to evolve is one of life's greatest gifts, what better time to evolve than at the start of the year, alongside a fair amount of the western population.
I don’t know if it’s just my age (21 is when you’re supposed to start adult-ing, right?) or the increasing ‘woke-ness’ of millennials, but I’ve really noticed a huge amount of people talking publicly on social media about their new year goals. Seeing everyone so keen to have better habits, live healthier and work harder is the type of positivity we need to see on social media, especially amongst all the other BS we see online. I just hope it lasts longer than a few weeks.
Originally, I wasn’t planning on making any drastic changes to my life, I almost didn’t even bother with setting goals, but after I published my previous blog post, something kind of cool happened.
Clearly putting out into the world what you want is an actual thing because A DAY LATER, a motivational speaker who I follow on social media, Mel Robbins, started a course called ‘Mindset Reset’ – a completely free and accessible 30 day course for anyone wanting to switch up their game and get their shit together. (If you're new here, I’m constantly obsessing over her on my blog – this post is a solid example). Now let me tell you, I’ve read countless self-help books over the years, and nothing, I repeat, NOTHING has come close to how simple yet effective the steps that she teaches are for helping you change your life.
Amongst her daily wisdom-filled live streams, something struck me that was basically the piece I'd been missing . You know how I said I found it hard to believe in myself? That I would never achieve my goals because I wasn’t lucky or good enough? Well this one golden nugget of knowledge has changed that.
Told you it was kind of cool.
Mel says that we all have limiting beliefs that have been a result of negativity in our past, and these are the only things stopping us. That's it. Nothing else.
Personally, my brain has been embedded with the belief that I don't deserve success, and I've truly believed that for years. Turns out... it's not true! Somewhere along the way I've trained myself to just assume failure is inevitable, and this has become my DEFAULT way of thinking. This default way of thinking takes the PHYSICAL FORM of neurons in our brain called the 'Default Mode Network' which forms our automatic thinking patterns. By identifying when we think these thoughts, we can counteract them with something positive like "I am good enough", this can help us to live and think deliberately, and eventually believe in ourselves enough to achieve our goals. Even just knowing that the only problem was what I believed, I knew that I could work to change that. That's when visualisation comes in.
Now, whether you’re a firm believer in the Law of Attraction, or you’ve heard of it and thought ‘my god what a load of bollocks’, strap in because I’m about to hit you with some GOOD CLEAN SCIENCE.
I’ve known that the Law of Attraction was a thing that “worked” for so many people, but every time I heard about it, it was all “spiritual” and no one was coming at it from a clear factual perspective. I’d heard hundreds of successful people on TedTalks and in interviews saying ‘it’s backed by science’ – well yeah, it’s clearly worked for you Mr Millionaire and Owner of A Thousand Businesses, but HOW?
Introducing: the 'Reticular Activating System'.
You may already be aware of how awesome the human brain is, but the Reticular Activating System is a cluster of nerves in our brain that acts as an information filter. As Tobias van Schneider puts it, “it takes what you focus on and creates a filter for it”.
A good example of this is something that happened to me recently. Those who know me well know that I’m a huge Queen fan so, as expected, my ‘fangirl’ senses were ‘heightened’ when the Bohemian Rhapsody film was released. I was listening to their music more, I was obsessing over how great the actors were, I was watching countless interviews and I was just reminded of how much of an inspiration Freddie Mercury is to me.
Throughout the next few weeks/months, these weird Queen references would keep happening in my everyday life that had never happened before. (You’re probably thinking “Well yeah obviously Lois, the film was being promoted” but I promise you it was way more than just a crappy advert on TV that played ‘A Kind of Magic’ in the background). It was things like every film I watched had a Queen song in the soundtrack, and it got to the point where I just thought, “OMG it’s a sign. The UNIVERSE is telling me to get a Freddie Mercury tattoo. It’s the ONLY explanation.”
Much to my mother’s relief, I resisted the urge to get a tattoo of a moustached man (for now), and I now know that it was my Reticular Activating System that was filtering all these Queen references into my brain. Those things were probably happening before, I just began noticing them more because I had been focussing on the band and my love for Freddie.
It’s the same reason why the world feels against you when you’re feeling low. You know how it’s so much easier to find all these things that are wrong with your life when you feel like shit, and you have this sudden realisation of how awful your life is? Or your anxiety goes into overdrive? That’s your RAS filter doing its job – filtering in what you’re focussing on.
As you can see, this is a pretty solid explanation for why the ‘Law of Attraction’ works. If you focus on visualising what you want in life, your RAS will most likely filter those things into your radar. If you’re focussing on how great it would be to get that promotion, you’re a lot more likely see an opportunity to talk to your boss about it.
Just as I’ve been focussing more on monetising my blogging, I’ve now officially bagged my first paid job as a social media influencer. I’m telling you guys, this shit WORKS.
If you want to find out more about how your brain is sabotaging your success, I really suggesting signing up to Mel’s #MindsetReset course. It’s completely free, it’s not too late to sign up and even if you don’t want to commit to 30 days, all of the videos so far are on her YouTube channel for you to watch whenever. This one in particular mentions the Reticular Activating System:
I hope you guys are having an awesome start to the year like me, and I hope you can click away from this page feeling empowered and ready to achieve your goals!