There is a common saying, you’ve probably heard it: Change or Die.
Direct. To the point.
And yet we can’t seem to make those changes. Habits are part of the very viscera of our humanness. But why? We have all manner of knowledge available to us at the touch of a button. We know how we should behave. We know that we need to make changes in our lives to improve them. Most of us don’t want to die, but we also don’t quite know how to change.
What’s the hold-up?
Resistance. It’s part of our human psyche. And if change were as easy as it sounds, we would all eat well, exercise daily, practice meditation and other self-care practices, walk in nature, engage in meaningful conversation with people on a daily basis. In short, we’d be living in nirvana. Everything and everyone would be perfect.
But we’re not. We want to change, some of us desperately want to change, but we resist. It could be that we think that the work involved in change is too difficult, too time consuming, too far out of reach.
Some people think that they only need to increase their awareness to a problem in order to make a change in their lives. Sure, developing insight into what you want to change in your life is certainly a first step, but the road to change doesn’t end there.
The next step is to actually do something to effect the change. Much like goal setting, it’s one thing to write down goals. That’s an admirable exercise. But most people fail to continue the exercise by writing down action steps, dates those will be done, and analyzing potential roadblocks that could prevent those necessary action steps.
Thoughts alone aren’t going to change us.
But resistance to change is not always a bad thing. Perhaps the change we want to make could present some problems for us. Or it could be we don’t have the tools for change.
Try this the next time you want to stop a bad habit and can’t seem to do so. You’ve already become aware of it, because now you want to stop doing it. Your insight into your habit is an excellent first step.
Now, notice your resistance to the change. What is it about the change of the habit that brings up the resistance? Is there another way to change that would make you less uncomfortable?
As crazy as it sounds, sometimes the best way to effect a change in yourself is to stop judging yourself and accept yourself for who you are. Recognize that all your habits, good and bad, make you into the individual that is uniquely you.
Many times people discover that once they accept themselves, effecting a change becomes easy.