How To Create a Life That Works
By Art Ramsay, PhD

 It is the beginning of a new year as I write this, and I wonder about resolutions people make to start the year off 'right'. While this may appear to be a step in the right direction, it is often delusional. Resolutions depend on 'will power' for the most part, and are created to correct something done, or not started or completed previously. This mindset leads to failure and disappointment.

 What is wanted from resolution making is a life that works better, at least in some part, than it did the year before. Our lives are based on our beliefs, and the only way to change them is by changing beliefs; simple statement, not so simple process. But it can be if you take one step at a time.

 Beliefs are followed by habits, which are what most people work on at the beginning of a new year. Let me use a simple example separating beliefs from habits. Eating and drinking too much of the 'wrong'' kinds of foods and beverages will result in gaining fat and poor health; an example of an unhealthy habit. Let's look at probable steps to eliminate this habit.

 First, you have to choose to take a step, just as you did to make a resolution. Such things as what method will you use, how you will utilize it, what structure (if any) you will need to keep it moving, and so on. You could choose to pick something you want to change; here, I will choose fat loss; a big resolution maker. The method might be to keep track of what you eat. The structure: pick items needing to be eliminated, and create a chart.

 Next, and most importantly, you would write down reasons to want to make this change. I have desired to reduce my waistline for a number of years, because I did not like the way it looked, felt, and having to buy bigger pants every couple of years; my reasons. Since I have been a runner and exercise enthusiast for years, I had 'wrongly' figured those actions would take care of the fat situation; not so.

 Next, determine the why of how it (whatever you chose) got that way, or is continuing. For the fat loss example, when I discovered that sugar is in almost everything we eat, I kept track of it. By doing this, I knew what not to eat sugar-wise. I also determined that ice cream and flour products were big fat producers.

  Finally, put it into action and track your progress. This may be the hardest part of the process. I began looking at the detailed labels of everything I wanted to eat and cut out sugar, saturated fat, and flour oriented products one at a time over several months. I weighed myself, and more importantly, measured my waist weekly. The progress has been that I lost 15 pounds and two inches of fat over a period of six months. I have done it through sheer willpower. That may not work for many people.

 Okay, I gave you a simple example, at least, for me. Let's look at a more life-changing, but harder example stop complaining. This habit is filled with beliefs. Complaints come from judging. Judging comes from long-held beliefs. This is a complex process, since each complaint may be about something different. Using the preceding process, let's take the steps.

 Determine a method and structure. Record each complaint, either thought or spoken. Discover what each one is about and what belief surfaced from it. Why do you want to stop complaining? Getting rid of the negativity, anger and awful feeling accompanying it would be logical reasons. In this case, you are going to want to know the 'why' of each different complaint. So, sorting them is part of the structure, perhaps, to work on one belief at a time.

 Noticing a complaint, writing it down, and determining the belief causing it would be actions to get to the process of main activity getting rid of the belief that caused it. This action starts a new process of belief-busting. Where did the belief come from? Why did you adopt the belief and hold on to it? Does it serve you? Obviously not, or you would not have used it to complain.

 Once a belief is found that causes something in your life to not work as you would like it to, it is time to release that belief for good. There are various ways to let go of beliefs; one simple way is to write it on a piece of paper, thank it for being there when you needed  it, and then burn it knowing that you no longer want that belief.

 As you continue the above process, there will come a time when you can catch a belief as you complain, because the complaint reveals it to you. Then you just let it go. It gets easier as you practice. Using complaining and the corresponding judgment process is a great way to get rid of beliefs that are holding you back.

 The preceding practice can be used for anything that is keeping you from living your life fully. Virtually every aspect of your life that is not working is due to a hidden belief; hidden from your conscious mind, that is. The above examples can give you ideas about what to look for when things are not working in your life. You have to start somewhere; it might as well be with something simple, and then work your way 'up' from there.

What I have written above is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak, but it is a place to start. You must always come from a place that pulls you away from any drama that may be involved with the complaining, judging, taking things personally, or similar responses. Whatever it looks like on the outside, it comes down to a belief, or beliefs. Your belief system is the basis for everything that occurs in your life regarding responses to outside events.

 If you are thinking otherwise, browse through the archives on my website, and you most likely will find an article that speaks to what is going on in your life right now. Read it, and others to better understand what I have written above.


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