Here’s what we’re going to do in this article. I’m going to pretend that I know a thing or two about changing behavior, and you’re going to pretend to follow my advice.

Let me tell you about changing anything in your life. First, you cannot expect a change in results if you don’t change the inputs. When you want your life to go in another direction, the priority is in how you do it. The way to change that “how” part is by realizing the difference between the subconscious and conscious mind, and observing the way they affect behavior.

Now if you haven’t read Shakespeare’s Hamlet, go read it now. It will prompt you to ask yourself whether you should live or die. Make a list — assets and liabilities, pros and cons, or just to live and to die — and assign numeric points to the items on your list. Calculate the points, and you will have seen your choice.

If you’ve come back to read this article — welcome back — I have started change in you. Those who haven’t followed the instructions will undergo no change as they haven’t changed any inputs in their equations — reading Hamlet is not mandatory; just make the list.

What we’ve accomplished by compiling a list of to live or to die was turning a subconscious process into a conscious one. This is the first step toward changing an outcome — realizing what the heck is going on.

Going through the effort of seeing why you choose to live is essential. While it seems rather like a trivial task, it might in the end reveal a couple of things about yourself. Also, it’s useful in the sense that it pushes you to look at how you value “things” in life.

The second accomplishment of the test was making a decision based on a conscious process rather than a subconscious one. In this case it was choosing to live and coming back to finish the article. The first part was identification, and the second is deciding whether your behavior makes sense or not.

Basically, just go repeat the process for your addictions or whatever that is you want to change. As a result of these two steps it will be evident to you whether you should try to get rid of a habit, or try to change it. Something is part of your subconscious because at some point in your life you thought you didn’t need to question it. Since you now want change, you have to question it.

The simple example is asking yourself why you should quit smoking. It won’t work if you don’t see the flaw in your own reasoning, and if you don’t see a problem in your conscious reasoning then you don’t want to quit your habit.

Figuring out the flaw doesn’t solve the problem, right? You’re convinced and you’re aware, but you lack initiative. Remember what I said about assigning points? You lack initiative because the values that add up to your habit outweigh your desire for change.

Now, I can’t dig into changing values because that’s a completely different psychological ball game, but what I can say is that the more you question yourself the better it is. So, my very narrow value add to your day is this: don’t take it for granted, go through the process one more time, because somewhere along the way you will see what matters more to you, and that may become the initial spark to change.

You have to review how you look at things in order to get a new sense of evaluating where you’re at in life, and then you can begin changing yourself.

TL;DR: To change behavioral outputs, change input approaches and assumptions first. To do this, make the effort to turn some subconscious processes into conscious ones.

Kaan Avdan is an LSA junior.

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