I started so well… what happened?
If you’ve never asked this of yourself you’re definitely the exception and not the rule.
Most of us have at some point struggled with this question or a variation of it. Other common versions include, ‘Why can’t I stick with it?’ ‘Why does this happen every time?’ ‘What’s it going to take?’ And for those of you who have really had enough… ‘What the f#%k!’
So why are so many of us cursed with an inability to hang in there when it comes to changes like diets and exercise programs? Why do many people not even last a week before they quit? And why do so many of us fall into a cycle of quitting after 6-12 weeks? When we start so well and actually feel better for it, it makes no sense that we would quit right?
Well the bad news is that there is no one reason why we do this. There are some common themes that pop up regularly though. I see the following three all the time…
There are no short cuts! It's amazing how many people will wholeheartedly agree with this statement and in the next breath plunge head first into the next 'quick fix' solution offered by Dr Oz. You see although we know deep down that there aren't really any short cuts, the temptation of the possibility of there being a short cut is often too much for us to resist. "But what if it works" we say to ourselves as we attempt to justify our position. The funny thing is that in a way short cuts might work... The bad news is that even if they do the results are unlikely to stick around.
Why? Well you see, making long term changes requires that we develop positive habits. While rapid transformations yield rapid results what they don't do is allow the habits we develop to really set in and take hold. What you get is a situation where you may have made a physical change, but mentally you are still in a similar position to when you started. This means that there is still a good chance that old behaviors will once again set in and you will return to your starting position. If change takes a while however then we are giving our neural pathways a chance to strengthen and as a result we also achieve a mental transformation. Remember neurons that fire together wire together, meaning that the longer we do something the more chance we will have of continuing to do it.
So the message is... Take your time and look at change as lifestyle and not a destination. The longer you take to get there the more likely it is that your results will stick around in the future.
Listen to Andrew Ellis talk more about this concept below...
Listen to more of what Andrew has to stay here...
New York Times investigative reporter, Charles Duhigg. discusses his new book 'The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business'. Charles Duhigg how we can change the bad habits that hold us back in life, and how we are manipulated into consumer habits.