When Does Change Occur?

. 2 min read

Hello and greetings from the hotel where I'm spending my Friday evenings nowadays. I had a terrible time, all day, dealing with a backpain caused by overtight pants (yes, it's a thing), but when I finally got them off and treated myself with a bath and a glass of champagne, everything became all right. So now I'm cheerful and ready to talk business, as they say.

When does change occur? How do the mechanics of not having the power to change, and having the power to change, work? In other words, why did I have the enthusiasm earlier, but not today?

One thing would be energy. If you're having a bad day (or overtight pants), change is not a top priority crucial for survival. Make an effort when you have the energy, or the willpower, to do so.

Another thing would be personal expectations. Perhaps you expect yourself to become a superman overnight: run in the morning, work 12-hour days, meditate for 30 minutes, read for an hour every day, starting tomorrow - even if you've never done any of those before. This push and hold the line technique works for some, but don't automatically expect you're one of them. Take it easy, one new habit at a time.

A third thing could be that the pain of staying where you are isn't immense enough to push you to change; that the cost of change is higher than the cost of staying the same. Perhaps you haven't hit your bottom yet. If you wait until you hit it, the energy you'll get from it will rocket you to new heights.  

But maybe you are ready for change. You can see the shiny new life waiting for you on the other side, and if feels so real, and you want to grasp it, desperately... but equally as much as you want it, you don't want to suffer, either. You're ready to do the work, but you want the journey to be on your side, and not demotivate you through constant obstacles. If this is you, here's what to remember:

  1. All things are difficult before they are easy.
  2. Your body and mind will get used to anything you want. You only need to subject them to the new normal a little while.
  3. You can start small. Make the change as easy, as desirable, and as rewarding as you can. (Read The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg to get started.)

And if you don't know where to begin, look back to your past and see how you've made things work out for the best before. Emulating your old strategies is a good place to start.