If you truly want to change your life, you first must be willing to change your mind.
Such an obvious aphorism. Clear the the blue sky.
So why is it nearly impossible for us to get there?
Is it really so hard to change your mind?
Well, that depends. On one side, no, it is not hard at all. You might have a predisposition to not like a certain food or flavor, then one day, perhaps out of politeness at a friend’s home for dinner, you manage to choke down a bite and discover you were wrong in your impression about such a food. From that day forward, your mind is changed, and you are more willing to try another bite of this particular dish or flavor.
On the other side, comes the decisions to change behaviors that are forged in steel within us. We approach these by saying things like, “I will go on a diet for two weeks,” or “I will just smoke less cigarettes per day than before,” or “I will only drink on the weekends,” or “I will start working out tomorrow.”
Whatever the behavior we are looking to change, we are in flux from a habit into a new lifestyle. And a new lifestyle sounds easy to accomplish, until you try it. Old habits really do die hard. They become ingrained, they are our stress rewards, they are our comfort (or we think they are)…. And they are like a bad tenant, they will not vacate willingly. So you must be willing to take necessary action to evict them, or they are going to ratchet on, and hang tough for the REST OF YOUR LIFE.
We have heard the solutions, they are so simple that we are like giddy little kids who want to shelter these unruly tenants rather than accept a simple truth.
Don’t diet for a couple of weeks… rather, just change your eating habits to reasonable, healthy meals and portions and stop eating all of the other garbage. Perhaps enjoy tiny portions of the garbage once or twice a month, so you do not feel deprived, but only if your willpower will enable you to stay in your new eating habits for the remainder of the meals in that month, and the following one….
Whichever the habit, or circumstance, or professional or personal cycle you are finding yourself trapped within, you only need do one thing… change your mind.
It sounds impossible, but there are resources and tools to enable you to find the strength and power to make this happen. For me, the diet change and exercise change arose from one thought… “How stupid am I going to feel, lying in a hospital bed, trying to learn how to speak English again, as a result of a stroke, when all I have to do now is start shopping only the perimeter of the supermarket and stop eating the processed foods?
I have watched other friends go sober and stay sober for decades. Others have quit cigarettes. Others have found the strength to leave a loveless relationship, and others who changed employment because what they were doing was toxic.
Can it be done? No question.
Is it easy. Not a chance.
So why do it?
Because the ramifications of not doing it are so horrific that to continue to allow it to perpetuate is just unconscionable. If you came home and found people who had broken into your home and decided they were going to live there, you would take action immediately. Having a bad habit or behavior or relationship or professional circumstance that is toxic is really no different. Something you do not like is in your life, just like those intruders are in your home in my metaphor. Do you really want to cohabit with them, or are you finally at a point in life where you value your life, more than the habit or circumstance?
Changing your mind is an arduous process, and is met with the most intense resistance. There are countless ways your mind will take matters into it’s own control and persuade you otherwise, but just like those intruders in your home… those habits are freeloading on you like a parasite, and you are the only one who has the power to evict them.