We all want change, yet most of us don’t want to change. We want to watch less TV, we want to get more exercise, lose weight, eat better, start writing that book, spend more time with the kids…
We declare it a few times a year and especially as a new year’s resolution, we might even start strong once in a while, and yet, most of the time, it doesn’t stick.
Change is scary, time consuming, hard to go through and we don’t really know if what’s around the corner is actually worth all the hassle. When we do start, we often make bold declarations and pretty much secure our failure by putting high and unreasonable expectations on ourselves.
In fact, research shows that about 54% of people who decide to make a change in their lives, fail within six months, and the average person will declare the same resolution 10 times in their lifetime without success.
Did you even stop and think why? Why it is that change is so hard and scary??
So, this is where I get all geeky on you, and talk about the brain. A lot of people blame themselves for not having enough willpower, not being strong enough to make a change. I have some good news for you: IT’S NOT YOU, AND YOU’RE NOT ALONE!
Although some say we’ve evolved a lot since the stone age, our brain still functions the exact same way. When it comes to change, our brain fears it, and will find any way it can to feel safe. Safe for our brain means doing/thinking/feeling the same thing we’ve done/thought/felt yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that.
By now you’re thinking to yourself “great, so this pretty much sums it up, no need to even try”. I promise you that’s not the case. Not only is it possible to change (and dare I say, hijack your brain), it’s also not as hard or scary as it sounds.
If you do it right, that is. Here are three simple steps anyone can take:
1. Slow and steady wins the race
Unlike our famous new year’s resolutions (which we already know don’t work), breaking down our one big goal into small steps is much more sustainable, and lets the brain slowly adjust to very simple changes.
That way, you’re not committing to something which will take all of your time and energy right off the bat, but rather take you a few minutes a day to implement small changes.
2. Hijack your brain
Sounds like a scene from a sci-fi movie, and yes people do it all the time (sometimes without even knowing it). Do you know that moment when you are at a crossroad (a small one – like choosing between an apple or a slice of cake, or a life changing one – like replying to a job offer), and for a split second, there’s a tiny voice inside your head? You know, that same voice which always knows what to do, and we often ignore, kind of like your mom?
This is the exact moment you can apply The Five Second Rule – by Mel Robbins.
The five second rule works on the argument that you know what you should do, but you can’t seem to make yourself do it. You simply need to outsmart your own brain! The moment you count down from five to one, you are interrupting habit loops occurring in the basal ganglia, and moving your brain activity to the pre-frontal cortex. The pre-frontal cortex is responsible for, amongst other things, decision making. After counting down from five to one, you can actually take the advice of that little voice without much hassle.
So, the next time you’re watching Netflix, and that little voice tells you to go to bed rather than start another episode, give the five second rule a try. It’ll blow your socks off!
3. Accountability partner
We all know the African proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”. Having an accountability partner, someone who can coach and support you, and help keep you to your commitments, is a true game changer. It can be your best friend, your partner, or a paid coach. No matter who you choose to go on this journey with you, going together will really get you far. Knowing that someone will be checking up on you, asking you about your progress, and helping you come up with more small changes which will bring you closer to your goal, will make a huge difference, guaranteed.
So no, making changes in our lives does not come naturally. But with small steps, the right mindset, and the perfect partner, you’ll be moving mountains sooner than you think!
Danna Levy Hoffmann is the founder of Organilicious, a leading health and lifestyle coach and an expert on living a nourishing lifestyle. Danna is a certified IIN health coach, a speaker, and a healthy lifestyle expert.
This column is brought to you by Organilicious (https://organilicious.ch/). Their personalised and holistic approach aims to create sustainable and delicious lifestyle changes. Full disclosure: side effects may include falling in love with food again, losing weight and feeling amazing!