The Curse of the Change
We all know that making changes is very hard. We have a set routine or a way we like to do things, even when they are not necessarily good for us in the long run. Yet we do them all the same. Worse yet we recognize this pattern, decide we will change, pick a date to begin, and once it’s here put it off again.
It’s a never ending cycle.
What’s up Change?!
So the million dollar question is, why is it that change is hard? Why can’t I make lasting change so I can achieve everything I want?
Well we can turn to the brain and place all the blame on the way the brain is wired. The brain is responsible for a lot and thus likes to work efficiently, conserving energy when it must. This is shown in how the brain treats incoming information, cataloguing it with previous stored information.If it’s something new that the brain has not seen before then it frantically tries to make sense of it all, which may active your stress response system-signaling “threat”!. So with a threat you go into reaction mode and thats when you stop making changes and fall back into old patterns.
Or maybe it’s our negative thought patterns, telling us we are not good enough and that we wont be successful. After all its a new path and there is no guarantee that everything will be ok in the long run. Negative thoughts can reck havoc on how we feel about ourselves and sabotage our desire to grow.
Whatever the reason, we know that change is hard. When faced with a challenge we have two options: 1. Give up or 2. choose to fight through and try any way.
Since I’m a fighter and I don’t like giving up (I’m assuming that you are as well) I have complied a list of three things you can do to make a new habit or routine stick, in order to make sustained and lasting change.
Step 1: Make a List. Create a list of things that you need to do and estimate how much time you’ll need to complete each task. Then you can batch or group things together. A popular change people want to make is to live a healthier life style, which includes exercise and healthy eating. So your list might be: spending 1 hour in the morning exercising, which includes running and yoga. Then to make breakfast you create a menu of healthy foods, such as eggs or yogurt and granola. You estimate the prep time and eating to be approximately 45 minutes. Then you move to step 2…
Step 2: Plan ahead. Create a schedule in which you write down the changes you want to make and list them on your calendar. Example: Monday wake up at 5 am, go for a walk for 30 minutes, and yoga for 30 minutes. 6:15 am make and eat breakfast. 7:00 am shower etc.
Review your calendar each night and make it a priority. If it’s not on the schedule then it doesn’t happen. Now if that sounds too rigid for more spontaneous types (not me) schedule in blocks of time that are free, meaning they are open for spontaneity. An example from my schedule has me working in the morning, since I’m a morning person and feel the most energized then. I then carve out some time for rest (a nap) and a separate time for free time. Then a couple hours in the evening for more work. This way if someone messages me the same day wanting to do something (which I usually don’t like but sometimes I go with the flow) then I have some time thats open. I find this helps you stay focused on your target while not sacrificing time with loved ones.
Step 3: Stick with it and don’t beat yourself up when you mess up. Even with a routine there a days when you wake up and your not feeling it. Whether its a bad night of sleep (bad dreams, restless sleep, or not enough sleep) or you woke up feeling crappy, you have zero motivation to attack your goals. So you decide to hide yourself away and chuck your plans for the day. Although it may feel good to avoid it all, it only puts you more in a rut. Furthermore not only does it not improve your mood but it leaves you behind on what you want to achieve. This may make you beat yourself up even more. Rather than avoid, force yourself to engage in your schedule any way, but make minor adjustments. Look at what’s on your schedule and make a list of 2-3 that are of priority and make a note to do those. Maybe even give yourself a little more time to attune to those, especially if they are creative like writing or art, since most of the time when you sit down and let it free flow you will come up with something. Avoid distractions like tv, social media, and your phone. They will pull you into the black hole.
If you’ve tried these and you still said “eff it all” well no big deal you will start again the following day-promise yourself this. And then let it go. Don’t beat yourself up and belabor the point. Accept that you may falter but be determined to pick yourself up and keep going.
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These are just a few strategies, tips, and recommendations! I hope you found this post helpful! I’d love to hear from you in the comment section!
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Until we connect again,