Why It's So Hard To Change Your Habits
Happy Friday! February is almost over my friend! Are you feeling a little tired from the changes you set out to make for the new year? I am going to guess that you are, because I know that I am!
Change for the better always feels like such a grand idea, but when it comes down to actually changing and doing the work necessary to achieve that change it can feel like a struggle. Wanna know why it's so hard to change your habits and improve your life? Keep reading.
1 - Our Brains are Complicated
The brain is a complex organ that controls thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature, hunger and every damn process that regulates our body. It's constantly busy and as a result, it tries to simplify as many things as it can. The simplifying of things are what we tend to refer to as habits. I'm going to keep things as simple as I can. Our brains have two major parts that impact our lives:
The conscious mind includes all of the things that you are currently aware of and thinking about. It is similar to how we view short-term memory in terms of capacity. It consists of your awareness of yourself and the world around you at the current time.
The subconscious mind (also known as monkey brain) includes things that we are not aware of (or thinking of) at the moment, like our limiting beliefs. It is a data base for everything. It stores your beliefs, experiences, skills and memories. It can run rampant all day and if it is not given a purpose, it can quickly sabotage what you hope to achieve.
Your subconscious mind also acts as a guidance system and is constantly filtering for perceived dangers, as well as opportunities, that it then communicates to your conscious mind. This can work in your favor if you learn how to rewrite your limiting beliefs, but if you don't, it can hinder any progress you hope to make. The goal should be to get the subconscious mind to filter for more opportunity and less perceived danger, which in many cases is just opportunity for success that you have yet to experience. This is also known as a push outside of your comfort zone...and the subconscious mind is not usually a fan of that.
2 - You Don't Know What You Really Want
Without clear direction, any change you make in your life won't make a difference, so understanding what you really want is a critical part of making change.
If you are new here or simply haven't taken the time to do the journaling prompts from this post, I highly recommend that you do them now.
Once you have dug in and gotten clear on what you want, you can make a map for yourself or a vision of what you want your life to be. This vision map will define your values, your "why" for what want to accomplish and the overall person you wish to be.
It is essentially an overview of your life and should not be confused with goals (those come next). The vision map functions more as a compass and allows to avoid living life in a reactive state.
If you never take the time to dig into who you are and what you want, or to create this vision map for yourself, you will struggle to have the strength needed to push through the obstacles that will come up along the way.
3 - You Haven't Created a Plan For Your Goals
If you want to change your life, you must create an action plan, most commonly in the form of goals.
(Side note: sign up for my email list and receive a FREE Goal Setting Workbook!)
While goal setting can be intimidating, it can also be an exciting way to look forward to what we want to achieve in life.
The key with goals is to break them down into smaller pieces using the SMART goal method:
I highly recommend turning your goals into a vision board and posting it where you can see it daily. This keeps your goals at the front of your mind and avoid putting them off for let's say, a Netflix marathon!
4 - Reaction Mode Is Your Default Response to Life
When you live your life putting others first or allowing them to determine the path your life takes, that is living in reaction mode.
This can tie into limiting beliefs that were instilled deep inside or your subconscious or it can simply be a lack of belief in yourself to take control of your life and put your needs first. Either way, a change needs to take place if you want to see your vision map come to life.
The goal here is to switch from:
Reaction mode: where life happens to you and you a victim of circumstance, to
Proactive mode: where life happens for you because you are intentionally planning your time according to your goals.
When you take the time to intentionally plan your life, the game changes. You become focused on what is important to you and learn how to say no to the things that are not. This helps to show your subconscious mind what is important to you and it filters that into it's guidance system, creating the change we desire.
5 - Your Habits Need Some TLC
If we made our vision map and set goals to help us move toward our vision but haven't addressed our habits, we have a problem.
Habits are honestly the difference between success and throwing in the towel when we are trying to implement change in our lives.
We tend to overlook how our habits can make or break our success in life. I learned so much about how to build good habits and break bad ones in the book Atomic Habits by James Clear where he discusses the 4 laws for building and breaking habits, known as the Habit Loop.
Building Good Habits:
Make it obvious.
Make it attractive.
Make it easy
Make it satisfying.
Breaking Bad Habits:
Make it invisible.
Make it unattractive.
Make it hard.
Make it unsatisfying.
Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement, as is having the courage to consistently show up for yourself, face you fears and continually work toward achieving the life of your dreams.
Ready to work on implementing change into your life but feel you need help? Reach out to me and let's chat! I will be taking on clients for 1:1 coaching soon and would love to see if you are fit to work with me.