People, generally, don’t like change. Change brings uncertainty, which threatens security and incites fear. The prehistoric parts of our minds are not geared towards accepting change easily.
When people want to change for the better, their intentions are generally good. Motivation often runs high at first, like it does for new year’s resolutions.
But eventually, our old habits take over. We either act on auto pilot or we convince ourselves that it is ok to break the new regime we have set for ourselves. We walk past the biscuit jar and automatically reach for a biscuit without thinking. Or we justify that it is too hot or cold outside to exercise that day.
In any case, the solution to this problem is to catch ourselves in the moment – to notice that we are about to choose the path that we decided we would no longer take. The ability to catch yourself in the moment is the one skill you need, if you want to change. It is all about creating self-awareness.
Before you reach for the biscuit jar, you need to stop and say “Hold on a minute, I’m about to reach for a biscuit, which is not what I want” and then use your willpower to walk away. Or as you are about to convince yourself that it is too hot or cold to exercise outside, you must take a step back and say “Woah, I see what’s about to happen here” and then choose to make the exercise happen somehow anyway.
It’s not easy, but it is a skill worth developing if you really do want to change. Start noticing when you are on auto pilot and, instead, focus on the here and now. Start noticing the thoughts that end up convincing you to do the opposite of what you want to achieve. Become self-aware.
Or do you want to run the rest of your life on auto pilot?