As we move towards “changing” such as identifying New Year’s resolutions, the statistics show that 80% or more of those resolutions fall to the wayside within one week. Let’s think about this – if we were ready and open to change because we believe change was easy – we would all be healthy, fit, happy, and wealthy. Have you ever thought of what really gets in the way of change? Do you feel frustrated when you know what you want, but continuously fall short of accomplishing your desires?
What are the Real Challenges of Change?
Our Habits Rule Our Lives. Have you ever taken time to identify your “habits”? Most people have way more habits than they realize. Think about your morning rituals. Do you basically have the same morning routines around getting up, dressing, reading or listening to the morning news, eating, , driving kids to school, going to work. Generally we all have “patterns” of behavior that dictate our days. Much of your day and night is a repeat of the last 500.
- When boredom sets in, you will generally fall back on 2-3 different habits – eating snacks, watching TV, talking on the phone, or (insert your habit of choice).
- Habits give us permission to avoid thinking. We do habits automatically – nothing ot think about. Example – you find yourself in front of the refrigerator and don’t remember why you’re there. Habits minimize thinking
- When you think about change – you need to be certain that the change makes sense to you. That the change is in your best interest. If not, the habit will always win.
- Change is uncomfortable and it feels hard. Losing 25 pounds is easy because you’ve already know how to lose weight or you know how to get a new and better job. What gets in the way is the action required to move yourself past your habits into new, unexplored territory; e.g. you need trust the process and let go of some habits.
- Habits look like they work – until they don’t. Your brain is wired for survival. Your brain is programmed to battle change, keep you “safe”, and protect you. Any change could potentially lead to death. You might be unhappy today, but you’re still alive!
As human beings – we prefer “the known” vs. the “unknown.”
- But I’ve tried to change but failed! You’re no dummy. If you’ve tried to change several times and failed, part of you says, “Obviously, I can’t change. What’s the use in trying?”
Change isn’t easy to begin with but with time & success, it becomes easier and easier. The primary issue keeping you from following through on your plan to change is attempting to change too much, too soon. Smaller changes are easier to accomplish and to maintain.
Keys to Change –
Let’s Approach Change with a Plan and a Purpose:
- Prepare to change. Know that change can be challenging. You increase your odds of success if you’re prepared and have a plan.
- Begin with a Small Change. To minimize the discomfort that change creates, only change a little each week. Losing one pound a week is easier that losing five pounds per week. The key is to get in the habit of doing the new behavior each day.
- Practice Patience. It can take months to make a change permanent. It’s often quoted that a new habit requires 30 days to instill. That’s not true. Studies show that it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the habit and the person.
- Trust the Process of Change. Changing yourself is scary, because you don’t know what the results will be. Accept that your life will change in some way. Discomfort isn’t always a bad thing.
- Take One Day at a Time. Falling off the wagon is to be expected. Attempt to enhance your approach and keep going. Aim for 90% compliance. That’s all you need. Perfection is an illusion that will only serve to destroy your confidence.
With Change comes patience. Your didn’t put on twenty pounds in one week. Understand why it’s so challenging to change and choose to make changes slowly and incrementally. Imagine how much you could change over a few years if you changed just a tiny amount each week. The results would be staggering! How much have you changed over the last few years? Give slow change a chance.