Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in your life? Changing habits, thinking patterns, growing and evolving seems really difficult to achieve.
It’s actually really simple. The process is you make the choice to behave/think/do something differently and you keep making that choice over again until the new way is engrained.
It’s simple. But it’s not easy.
One of the reasons it’s not easy is that you are surrounded by people. Hopefully people that you love and that love you back. If you were only surrounded by people you had little to no feelings for change would be no problem (but you’d be bloody miserable). I’d like to point out here that I am not suggesting that other people are at all to blame if a change doesn’t stick, you are responsible for yourself, rather highlighting an area that needs to be in your awareness when you’re making a change.
Changing becomes difficult because you have unspoken agreements with your loved ones about who you are, how you act and what their role is in your life and a (unconscious) part of you doesn’t want to rock that boat.
We evolved to not want to rock that boat. Historically, your people, your tribe, are the ones watching your back, making sure you are fed and ultimately keeping you alive. Going it alone made you vulnerable.
Chances are, some of the behaviours/thoughts/actions that you want to change are shared by at least some of the others around you, that’s where you got them from. When you decide to change it can be tricky as it can highlight things that others also need to change. It’s not nice to have your short comings reflected back at you, so sometimes we choose not to change in order to protect the feelings of our loved ones.
It can also be more than that. Partners, parents or other close supporters or carers can may not want you to make positive changes as they have built their purpose and daily routine around looking after you. (Do you remember the drama triangle?) If you no longer need that support what are they going to do? That perception may come from them, and they will (probably unconsciously) undermine your efforts, or it may come from you and you will decide not to try.
So if you really do want to change, you have a couple of choices here.
You can either be totally committed to change regardless of the impact you have on those around you. I warn you, that’s going to be tough. You’ll need to really put your head down and graft.
Or, you can think about how you changing will affect your loved ones, talk about it with them, and get their buy in. This is what I would call an ecology check – you’re making sure it’s sustainable in your wider life. Now, there is always a chance that you won’t be supported, especially if it’s a rather drastic change that will impact people greatly (such as moving to Australia!) at which point you will need to decide just how much you want it and perhaps be prepared to step out of your circle.