Changing Your Behavior Is Hard

changing your behavior is hardChanging your behavior is hard. Often, just wanting to change is insufficient, especially for change that runs deep. For deep change, on its own the want doesn’t cut it. What’s required is a powerful why. Why do you want to change? What’s your motivation?

But all whys are not created equal with some motivations more powerful than others. Is your motivation all about you, about your family, or society as a whole? The less it’s about you the greater its hold. Clarity on why is vital because it brings staying power.

A meaningful why can help maintain much needed determination as you push away from your as-is self. And determination is crucial because saying no to your previous behavior is exceptionally difficult because it demands full acknowledgement of your true self. In an unhealthy way, changing your behavior can be thought of as an admission – in the form of actions – that your behavior has not been up to snuff. But that’s not it. Changing your behavior is an admission you value yourself enough to face a self-imposed desire to bring more goodness; you value your family enough to bring them happiness, and you value life itself enough to reduce its suffering. It’s not about fixing something that’s broken; it’s about bringing more goodness and light.

Changing your behavior is no small thing, and to make it lasting requires deep grounding. To work through distractions; to hold onto the courage; to continually add the energy all require a strangle hold on what’s truly important. So I ask you know – what’s truly important?

You can fake it for a while, but in the end, because your motivation is not grounded, you’ll revert to your previous self. And I think this is worse than simply maintaining yourself as-is. You spend precious energy forcing the behavior because there’s no grounded motivation. Also, you set expectations that the temporary new behavior is now the standard, and when you revert expectations must be reset.

Here’s a proposal: Start small – latch on to a small why and create a small change. Feel what it feels like and own it. Use your new positivity to springboard to a bigger why and a bigger change and make that one stick. Next, stand on the shoulders of the goodness to reach for a bigger, broader why and a bigger, broader change. Then, repeat.

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Mike Shipulski Mike Shipulski
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