A new year, a new you… how many times has that been said over the years? Each year, many of us set new goals to change yet fail to make any headway in accomplishing them.
So why is change so hard?
We are creatures of habit
We are most comfortable living in a world of routine behaviour. We may take the shortest path to do something, and by doing it repeatedly, it starts to become routine. We may do these things without thinking about it too much.
Our emotions and environment
All our thoughts and emotions, as well as the environment you live in, may hold you back when trying to change. We may also be so scared of not succeeding and ‘losing face’ that sometimes we do not even try.
We underestimate the process
Long-term behaviour change involves many steps. It is easy to fool ourselves into believing that it should be so much simpler, but it can be a tough challenge. The process can be broken down into the following stages:
- Contemplation – You recognise that you want to make some changes.
- Preparation – You start preparing for the change (e.g. Looking up walking trails or healthy recipes if your goal is to be healthier).
- Action stage – You are making changes.
- Maintenance stage – You try to prevent a relapse by having coping strategies in place.
More often than not behavioural change occurs gradually, over time. A simple progression through the above stages is not the norm. We tend to move back and forth through each stage, recycling through them until the change becomes fully established.
Remember, it is a marathon, not a sprint.
To commit to change, try to be:
- Making a conscious effort
- Having the right mindset
- Investing a significant amount of time
Look out for our next article, which has tips to help you make that change.
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed give our SuicideLine Victoria team a call anytime of the day 1300 651 251.