Why you need to be a habit changing ninja

heather thatcher stress management expert

by Heather Thatcher

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What do you think of when you imagine a ninja?

Someone stealthy, who can sneak around and stay out of sight?

Someone who is highly skilled and knowledgeable about what they need to do to accomplish their mission.

And, let’s be real here, they’re also someone who was capable of covert espionage and quietly assassinating their enemy.

Now that you have that image in your head, I’m going to tell you why you need to embody your inner ninja when it comes to changing your life habits.

Our body is a stubborn thing.

We can know, logically, that we need to change some of our habits, both for our health and also for our mental wellbeing. 

But anytime we do this, if we don’t follow the right steps, our body will fight us – HARD!

When we’re operating from default survival mode programming, which is …well…our default mode of operation, our body fears anything that tries to change the status quo.

Even if it’s in our best interest, our body still fears the change and will do everything it can to make that change harder.

Our Inner Critic is the one calling the shots and making all the decisions when we’re in default survival mode. Just like the name suggests, our Inner Critic is just doing it’s best to keep absolutely everything that’s going on the exact same for our survival. 

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What we’re doing right now, is known to work okay. We’re getting by, we’re surviving and so our body at the direction of our Inner Critic is going to do everything in its power to maintain this balance.

When we try to change a habit, by eating healthier food or ordering in less, our Inner Critic notices that something is different and sounds the alarm. Our body hears that and says “Holy forking shirt, something is deviating from the plan and we need to reign it in!” and it ramps up our stress response and other chemical messengers in our body that bring on the emotions of fear and danger.

It doesn’t take long for us to need more and more willpower to keep working against this fear and danger response in our body until we give in, and fall back on our old habits.

This is why you need to be a habit change ninja!

Now that you know that your Inner Critic freaks out and has your body respond to change by ramping up your stress response and other fear and danger chemical messengers, if you want to change something about your life, you have to become a ninja, 

As this ninja, you’re going to be able to sneak around and stealthily create change in your body’s programming so that your Inner Critic doesn’t hit that alarm button and you won’t have to fight your body’s biological response to change.

By being a habit change ninja, you’re going to be able to sneak around behind your Inner Critic and create the changes you need so that they won’t notice until it’s already done.

There are many different ways that you can do this, and we talk about a lot of them in the Ultimate Life Reboot Program, and a bit in the foundation course within the Ultimate Life Survival Guide Membership community, but I’m going to share the three most important ones here with you today.

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NInja Tip #1 – Stop trying to overhaul your life

I get it. 

We’re tired of being stuck in the same spot year after year, being unhappy with our fitness and body, tired of struggling with money, and tired of just feeling really blah and kind of crummy all the time.

So we think of what we need to do to break away from this current state of being, and overhaul our habits often changing them fairly dramatically from what we’re doing right now to what we think we ‘should’ be doing instead.

But this is the easiest way that we can trigger our Inner Critic to sound the alarm.

Our Inner Critic sees us doing something completely different than what we usually do and so it freaks the heck out, thinking “Oh my word, what’s going on? Why are we doing everything different? There must be some danger somewhere. I don’t like this, I don’t like this!” and runs around pressing all the “freak out” buttons in our brain. 

Have you ever seen the movie inside out? Our Inner Critic is running around like that little purple “Fear” character.

The trick here, is to go for gentle, simple lifestyle shifts, rather than the big Inner-Critic-triggering overhaul.

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Let’s work through an example.

If you were looking to lose some weight, and there’s a lot of research out there that shows you need to burn more calories than you take in. The Heart and Stroke Foundation and many other global health organizations like the WHO suggest 150 minutes of vigorous activity a week.

But we’ve already established that if you go from couch potato to gym rat going to the gym 6 days a week, your body is going to do everything it can to stop that from happening.

Think smaller.

Be like a ninja and pick smaller, easier exercises to sneak in under your Inner Critic’s radar so she doesn’t feel the need to sound the alarm. It’ll be an unusual behavior, but nothing drastic and nothing that triggers the stress and fear response in your body.

How could you fit some exercise into your already existing day?

Could you go out for a ten minute walk at the beginning of your lunch break, and then use the rest of the time to eat?

Could you do some squats or lunges while you’re waiting for your coffee to brew in the morning?

Or how about committing to going for a walk or quick run when you get home from work and slowly extend that length of time?

Start incorporating exercise into your life, so that when you’ll be ready to start going to the gym you’ll have already shifted some of your programming, and your Inner Critic won’t trigger your body to fight you on this habit change.

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NInja Tip #2 – Think outside the box

We all know that vegetables are good for us and many of us need to focus on eating more of them. But just because salads are a great way to get vegetables, doesn’t mean that’s right for you.

My husband HATES salad. He will eat it if he absolutely has to, but will NOT be happy about it.

At some point in his life, he’s built the brain program that salad is the enemy. His body sends out the fear, disgust, and stress response chemicals when he eats a salad.

He could force himself to do it for a short time, but eventually his body would win and there wouldn’t be enough willpower in the world to keep him sticking to the habit.

This is where you habit change ninja can come back and help you think outside the box.

Salads trigger the Inner Critic in default survival mode because this is a deviation from the program, and his brain programming says that salads are the enemy.

But cut up veggies like carrot sticks, sliced bell pepper, and cucumber don’t trigger that same response.

The outcome is the same. He’s still eating his vegetables, just not as a salad and now it’s not triggering his Inner Critic to sound the alarm!

So that’s ninja tip number two – think outside the box and if one habit change strategy isn’t working for you, think of how else you could get the same outcome in a way that won’t trigger your default survival mode programming.

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Ninja Tip #3 – Get out of default survival mode

This is the most powerful strategy.

If your Inner Critic is the one that’s trying to keep you safe, but is doing this from a place of fear as they try to do everything they can to keep things the same – and you want to change – that means that you are going to have to step in and take over.

You are not your Inner Critic.

You are not your thoughts.

You are the thinker of your thoughts, and as this thinker of your thoughts you can agree or disagree with what your Inner Critic is saying.

When you, as the Objective Observer of your life, can step in and say “Thanks so much, Inner Critic, I’ll take over from here.” you no longer have to follow your default survival mode programming.

You can take that fear and alarm button away from your Inner Critic, and access the logical rational side of your brain that can see this new desired habits as being beneficial and healthy and more balanced.

You will still have to use other ninja strategies to create change, which is part of pillar one of the Ultimate Life Survival Guide, but you can start right now by creating some distance between you, your true essence your soul your higher self, your Objective Observer, your inner CEO whatever you want to call it – create some distance between this true part of you and your Inner Critic.

Because your inner critic isn’t always right, and you have the ability to disagree and take that panic button away before they push it.

Which ninja strategy are you going to try first, lovely? Let me know.

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