Research consistently demonstrates the power of mindset on behavior change.
You can set the most exciting goals, make sure they are smart and engage the most sort after coach but unless your self-image is in alignment with the behaviors and beliefs required to achieve those goals, you will consistently fall short.
Success is not simply a will power thing. We have to deeply believe in our ability to create successful outcomes and then have the habits to get the work done through self-discipline, diligent practice and preparation.
It all begins with your self-image with specific reference to the goal you have set.
For instance, if you have a desire to be a comfortable and natural public speaker but your emotions and thoughts along with the underlying beliefs are all centered on fear and memories of mistakes; you will probably not be natural the next time you speak in public. Because much of our thoughts, emotions and actions are on automatic, you would have to do a lot more than deal with conscious outcomes (like behavior) if lasting change is desired. Often, the foundation of our self-image is not conscious; the beliefs, memories, expectations and fears are usually on automatic, until we coax them above the surface.
Maxwell Maltz, who wrote the book Psycho Cybernetics (1960) stumbled into this research when he tried to help his patients. As a plastic surgeon he did surgeries to help people look better so they can feel better about themselves. He noticed that in some cases people would get the surgery requested and almost immediately would have a change in disposition. They would become visibly happier and content with their life. Then there were others who would get a similar requested surgery to change some aspect of their face or body and for some reason they would have no change in disposition. Some of them even got more despondent after the surgery. He found that very curious. He also had patients who would come in asking for surgeries that were clearly not needed – to his eyes. The patient would be convinced for instance, that their nose was huge when it was pretty normal.
These responses baffled him and so he began research into this brand new (at the time) area of study in psychology – the self-image.
How a person saw their self – the ‘sort of person’ they were pivotal. It’s in that perception that all else rests. So if the patient thought of herself as ugly no amount of surgery would make a difference. In spite of ‘objective’ feedback from trusted sources the person would still hang on to their belief.
How the brain and nervous system supports a person’s perception of their self was fascinating to Dr. Maltz. In 1945, he began a new career with his research in psycho-cybernetics. He realized that to really help his patients he had to study their psychology and more specifically he had to help them improve their self-image.
His research provides the scientific foundation for my offerings. Success with creating new habits that help is all about self-image management and mastery.
Dr. Maltz helped his patients with 21-day programs of activity. He found that it took about 21 days for his patients to create a new self-image. And what worked for him has worked for me, my clients and my groups – I am deeply grateful to Dr. Maltz and his findings.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from Dr. Maltz:
The ”self-image” is the key to human personality and human behavior.
Change the self image and you change the personality and the behavior.
Self-image sets the boundaries of individual accomplishment,
Our self-image and our habits tend to go together. Change one and you will automatically change the other.
You are embarking on the greatest adventure of your life — to improve your self-image, to create more meaning in your life and in the lives of others. This is your responsibility. Accept it, now!
Wishing you an abundance of sucesss,