How is it that we can embrace such life-altering changes so casually; such as having a baby, getting married, or taking a giant loan out for grad school (40K for me)? Yet we struggle so much with simple changes such as eating a healthier diet, exercising more often, getting more sleep, or taking on a new task or adventure.
We can sit down with our spouse or significant other and decide to have one of the most life-altering changes anyone can make by deciding to have a child but yet we can’t sit down and comprehend how to implement a healthy nutrition and exercise plan in order to feel better, look better, and be better on a daily basis.
WHY IS CHANGE SO F-ING HARD?
Implementing change in our life can be difficult for many reasons.
Fear of the unknown: Many of us are scared of uncertain outcomes. We prefer familiarity, comfort, and stability. Learning new tasks and taking on new challenges can often amplify this uncertainty and create paralysis for us to make necessary changes in our lives.
Cause it’s frick’n hard: Plain and simple, most of us do not like to take on difficult tasks. We prefer to cruise in life. Driving down highway piece of cake, taking a left on easy street, and dropping anchor in a simple town.
Minority: Making change can also be difficult because most people are not trying to do it. You’re typically on an island alone while trying to make changes in your life. Even if you are trying to change for the better; let’s say lose weight, that can be met with animosity, tension, jealousy. It’s hard to implement change when you might not be getting much support from others.
The Tortoise Change can be tough because often times it can be a long, slow, and grueling process. You are not going to lose 30 pounds overnight, you probably can not jump ship and quit your job in favor of pursuing a passion tomorrow, and you most likely can not quit smoking within the next few hours.
What is your limiting factor in making changes in your life?
SHITTY MINDSETS THAT INHIBIT CHANGE
Most of the time when it comes to implementing change in our life we are our own worst enemy. Our own thoughts, insecurities, perfectionism, low self-esteem, need for control, or the need to please can get in the way of us generating the change in our life we are seeking at the moment.
Here are a few of the mental challenges we may face.
Emotional thinking: When you’ve convinced yourself you are incapable of achieving something or are incapable of performing to some degree. You’ve basically taken your self out of the ball game before even putting on your uniform.
I’m right you’re wrong: When you think you are always right and everyone else is always wrong. Therefore you are unable to embrace new knowledge or any kind of advice given to you. You’re probably the type that reluctantly gives someone a task to perform only to tweak what they’ve done later on.
Shoulda, coulda, woulda This is the one I have fallen prey to often and the one that really bugs the crap out of me. You know what to do, you understand how to implement the changes, and you know the positive benefits but yet you never take action. Usually due to laziness, excuses like I just don’t have the time, or I’ll just start tomorrow… which turns into a week, a month, a year, a NEVER.
Self conscious When you are to concerned about what others will think of your new change or pursuit of change. It’s tough and can be pretty lonely as a minority. You may feel like you are on an island by yourself. Some of the worlds greatest changes were implemented by persons that really didn’t give a damn about what others thought about them. Think about someone you truly admire. Chances are they are a real individual who took a risk in life or stands out from the crowd in a bold way.
Follow the leader You refuse to look into information. You go upon heresy, what someone else tells you, or from one opinion. Do the leg work, research, learn, educate, find your own reasoning. Even if you are reading this blog and love the info I highly suggest checking out other resources to educate yourself and find what you truly believe in
THE SECRET TO CULTIVATE CHANGE
Most of the time it is so difficult for us to manifest change in our life because we formed habits that have been ingrained in us over an extended period of time. So how can we motivate ourselves in order to achieve the change we are so determined to create.
1. Ditch willpower: Some people have the willpower to quite smoking cold turkey or to eat one single M&M. Others will last a week and turn themselves back into a chimney or sneaky down to the kitchen late at night to polish of that bag of M&M’s that we declined earlier in the day. I hate to say it but there is no such thing as will power. Willpower often means lots of words with no action. “I am starting my diet tomorrow!” “I will work out 6 days this week.” Will power is often just empty promises and words that we tell ourselves with little to no ACTION. There is nothing more disheartening then telling ourselves “if I just had the more determination I could do this.” Determination has a lot to do with making change but there are other key factors that are more important.
2. Map it out, no doubt: I made it rhyme so hopefully it sticks in your head. What, when, how, and why. Do you want to start an exercise program? Get specific and plan it out. What exercises can you do, when can you do them, how will make the time, why do you really want to start? For the why, I suggest making a list of reasons as to why you want to achieve something. Keep writing until you get goosebumps. That will be your greatest motivating factor.
3. Take er easy esse: Start slow and small. Jumping all in can work for some things but for long-term changes you are trying to implement it may be best to take it slow. If you are trying to implement the Paleo diet, become a vegan, or start Crossfit you may want to make small improvements every day. If you are trying the Paleo diet maybe start with breakfast first and have eggs and nuts. Then carry on with the rest of your meals as is. After a week of Paleo breakfast try making lunch Paleo as well. Eventually you will have the habit ingrained in yourself and it will be a way of life.
4. Focus on the positive: Are you trying to get into shape? Then why are you focusing on your soft belly or loose skin under your arm. Focus on the actions that you are taking to achieve the body of your dreams. Are you eating healthier, working out consistently, educating yourself? Focus on all those positive steps you are taking instead of the negative. All that negative shit will just wear you out man.
5. Embrace fear: It’s totally cool to be scared. Fear is the most motivating emotion in the entire world. If you had a heart attack right now how much more likely would you be to change you nutrition and exercise habits (Sorry, didn’t mean to scare the pee out of you). If you are afraid of loosing your job how much harder will you work or even better what steps can you take to create your own job and work for yourself? Talk about job security than huh. What’s your biggest fear? I want to go and tackle it. Once you have done that everything else will not seem so scary.
EXTRA STUFF + TAKE ACTION TODAY
I just wanted to leave you with a few bonus tips.
If you have not read the book Switch by Dan and Chip Heath…. what the heck are you waiting for. Go get it! Here are of their recommendations as to how and bring about change.
What’s working: Was there a time in your life when you quit smoking for a week or were consistently working out for 4 months. Figure out why you were and clone it. What’s working and duplicate it.
Where are you going: Change is easier when you know where it’s taking you and why.
Make it emotional: Knowing the right thing to do is not always enough. Find your emotional connection as to why you want to make change.
Turn it into mini me: Make the change so small that it does not seem overwhelming or scary. Instead of losing 100 pounds lets start with 5.
Environment: Change your surroundings so that change is welcome. Are the people in your life making it difficult? Find new people to spend time with that embrace and support what you are doing.
Make it a habit: start slow and get into a routine. Visit this guy for help.
Start a movement; if other people are interested in making the same types of changes that you are then surround yourself with them and help spread it to as many other people as possible. This creates the feeling of not being in a minority
What are you trying to change, accomplish, pursue? I’d love to hear about it.