Why is change so difficult?

Why is change so difficult?

Changing behaviour requires changing those deep-rooted beliefs and values which is difficult.

Let’s start with simple ones – for example, you watch those zillion Youtube videos that talks about ‘what you should eat’, ‘how you should sit’, ‘what you should wear’ – you get motivated, you try it out once, you probably try it another time and if you are supercharged the third time over, but you ultimately don’t stick to it.

Do you know why?

Because changing habits isn’t superficial. It is deeper than we could imagine. And no even 21 days philosophy wouldn’t work if we don’t understand the science behind it. Our behaviour is deep-rooted in our values and beliefs. And deep down if we don’t change that, we can’t change our habits permanently. We can’t stick to that routine.

Let me explain it with a few examples

  1. You see the video that talks about the benefits of giving up sugar, you are motivated and you do that Monday through to Wednesday but the mid-week urge is now killing you and unless you have a very strong will power you give in to that urge.
  2. You see this amazing morning routine by Elon Musk and you want to follow suit. Now this time around you are very committed and you want to stick to it no matter what. You do it for a few weeks and if you are so committed to it, you also compromise the weekend binge. But what happens next? It results in you feeling sluggish on a few mornings. And now you don’t get to have those eggs or avocadoes for breakfast because Elon Musk doesn’t have breakfast, so acidity kicks in and suddenly you drop it the next morning.

Merely mimicking certain habits without imbibing the drivers – the values and the principles behind them is similar to mindlessly aping someone because we like them. And, that is why, change is not sustainable. Because when this newfound habit becomes more of a task that you need to fulfil; the motivation slowly goes down until it completely wears off and you go back to your old habits.

I shall give another personal example and see if you can relate to this – I think I have a decent fashion sense, nothing too jazzy or nothing too out of style, out of fashion. But there are times when I am quite motivated with my Instagram feed or Pinterest handles that I shall buy these extravagant outfits that I wouldn’t have otherwise bought. Also, bear in mind, I am fully convinced then, that I shall wear them and pull it off as well.

However a few days later it was just lying in my wardrobe, a few weeks later it has gone to bottom run of the wardrobe, a few months later, I actually wear it. Hurray! Okay, I wear it just once (because I don’t wish to feel guilty of not even removing the price tag) and that’s it. I never wear it again and it is just rotting there. I am sure you can relate to this, especially if you are a female, you might have experienced this at some point.

Now, the point I didn’t realise was, I have a dressing style – I choose comfort over trend and I love to go basic. A jeans-and-a-tee would top my list always. So when I buy something that doesn’t necessarily be comfortable enough or requires too much effort, I would seldom wear it. So, without even realising – subconsciously I had discarded it right when I bought it.

Now, what is the reason to do this?

“I was trying to copy someone on my Instagram feed but I didn’t realise I wouldn’t be able to copy their persona, their style and their attitude.

That is simply not me. And no one tells you that. I have watched numerous videos on style, clothing, photography but they don’t stick because they don’t match my personality type. It requires a conscious effort to change behaviours and it doesn’t happen overnight. Even if it does it doesn’t necessarily stick.

Now the same holds good in the previous two examples that I have quoted.

  • Giving up sugar because others have been doing it wouldn’t be sustainable.
  • Giving it up because you read about it and just want to try it out wouldn’t be sustainable either.
  • Giving it up because you want to prove it to someone is no good either

So what would?

Any change requires you to change your fundamental beliefs and values. It isn’t easy and it won’t happen unless you are consistent about it. Changing too many things will wear you out. Trying a Keto or Atkins is doable once but the more sustainable alternative is to change your food habits gradually. Take smaller portions, include more fibre, have more probiotics and similar such things.

Small incremental changes are doable and sustainable.

To help give you perspective, think about your childhood and now the adult life you are leading currently – have things changed? I bet they have changed dramatically, but it happened over so many years you didn’t realise that your personality was changing every day. So create a goal and make smaller changes – take one step at a time.

“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” 

― Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein

And if you don’t find merit in changing things, that’s alright too. You don’t necessarily have to change your habits, sometimes you just need to change your outlook or perspective towards it. And that would strengthen your beliefs and values and define your personality – what matters to you, what gives you peace of mind, what makes you jump out of bed in the morning?

Even one small change each day would mean approximately 25-30 changes in a month

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