“It’s easy to quit smoking cigarettes. I’ve done it a thousand times,” Mr. Zhou said to me one day as he took another puff.
It seems that “the only thing constant is change” is true—unless it is concerning changing ourselves and our old habits, customs, and beliefs. Whether it’s sticking to a program of eating right and losing weight, quitting cigarettes, stopping wasting so much time watching TV, reading more books, or refraining from yelling at the kids when they misbehave, we have all had a hard time making changes and making them stick.
The Need for Change
The Law of Diminishing Returns drives us to constant change. What thrilled us yesterday will not satisfy us today; and what we enjoy today will be boring tomorrow. We were made for change and constant improvement—that need was built into us.
The 2 Truths
So why do we find making good changes so hard?
Truth #1: Meaningful Change Is Always Difficult
While it’s easy to start a diet and loose a few pounds, the majority of people never achieve their goal and worse yet, gain all the weight back (and more!) within 3 years.
While there are multiple reasons for this, one of the most significant is the fact that we usually don’t understand the power of past habits. A habit is like a well-worn groove that is difficult to get out of. We have to overcome inertia in order to enact real change.
Truth #2: No One Can Make Us Change Unless We Want To
While the idea of making a change sounds appealing, when it gets down to the real work of making that change happen, it gets much more difficult. When you’ve finished a big meal and you’re satisfied, it’s very easy to say, “I need to lose some weight.” That’s why every diet starts tomorrow. We have to have a real desire to make a change, not just a casual wish for change.
So, What’s the Solution?
Solution #1: Goal setting and Efficacy
Researches have studied for decades what factors help us achieve a desired end. There are many things that help, but two have been proven to have the greatest effect by far. These two things are the essentials for making sure you will achieve what you want: goal setting and efficacy. I’ll give some great tips on goal setting in my next blog and I’ve talked about the importance of efficacy before (14-11-20 Blog) so I won’t say more than these right now. But, you must have these two things!
Solution #2: Commit!
If you make the real effort to realize change is hard and commit to doing the dirty work of actually changing, you will take the first step to seeing it happen.
So, here are the 3 steps:
1. Really commit to making it happen
2. Set the goal
3. Increase your self efficacy
If Mr. Zhou will do these things, I believe that the 1001st time, he will actually see success.