Why do some people change their lives but others stay stuck?
If change is as good as a holiday, why do so many of us refuse to take it? Whether the lifestyle change is to exercise more, drink less, improve eating habits or get more sleep, many of us take the initial step to commit to change only to jump off the change bus shortly after. So why can some of us change while others stay stuck in our old ways unwilling to change? It could be for any of the following reasons:
1. Unaware of why: Knowing exactly why you want to change in the first place is one of the most important elements for being successful in the change process. Identifying the three main reasons for why you really want to change helps you become aware of what is important to you. When you steer off course, coming back to your “why” will help you focus on the bigger picture and keep you on course to achieving your goals.
2. Fear of the unknown: Changing lifelong habits are not an easy thing to do and generally the fear of the unknown causes resistance. Being pushed outside of your comfort zone isn’t pleasant and often people focus on the feelings of immediate discomfort rather than the long-term gains. Everyone is always scared of what feels different to them but the trick is to embrace it because this is where the magic happens.
3. Temporary fad: Most of us can relate to making poorly planned, drastic changes to our lifestyle only to resort back to our old ways when things get hectic. This all-or-nothing mentality is not conducive with making and sticking to long-term lifestyle changes. When life gets in the way or you hit a bump in the road, acknowledge it and get right back on you track to achieving your goals.
4. Too overwhelmed: Sure life today is hectic, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find balance. Check to see if you are over-committing yourself to things and situations that aren’t that important to you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by something, can you ask for help or offload tasks that don’t serve you? By doing this you will free up time and energy to focus on making positive changes to your life.
5. Past resentments: While you stay stationary in your comfort zone, everything stays in a steady state. Step outside your boundaries and ghosts from your past start to haunt you. Old wounds reopen and past failed attempts become raw, convincing you that you will never succeed at changing your life. The solution is to stop dwelling on the past. Be in the moment and focus on what you can achieve. Dream. Believe. Achieve.
6. Self-identity is threatened: Change gives your identity a beating. Your family and friends (as well as you, yourself) have a perception of you and what you stand for. When you as an individual change, you can lose a sense of yourself and become foreign to family and friends, creating tension in the relationship. This tension can cause you to resort back to their old ways.
7. Perceived risk is too high: The change process requires a leap of faith that things will improve once you’re at the other end. But, there isn’t any proof along the way that this is the case, so taking the required steps is risky business. The journey is hard work and with so many temptations in life offering instant gratification, it is easy to think you are missing out and that not changing would be the better option. Focusing on the pros of changing will help you stay on track. Remember, anything worth having is worth working for.
About the author
Caitlin Reid is a unique health professional with qualifications as an accredited nutritionist, accredited exercise physiologist and yoga teacher. Caitlin is passionate about all things health and wellness, and keeps up-to-date with the latest health research, which she uses when contributing expert advice to health, fitness, lifestyle and food companies. She is also the nutrition expert for the Women’s Fitness magazine, the dietitian for the South Sydney Rabbitohs and ambassador for Papaya Australia. Follow Caitlin on Instagram @caitlinareid or visit her website.