Habits – we all thrive on habits and routine. When we do the same thing every day, things become ingrained in our day, in our family, in our being. There is a lot of comfort in keeping things the same. Many things we do whether healthy or unhealthy, don’t require extra thought. We all like to be comfortable.
- Example, on the days when work is frustrating, the kids are screaming, the teens break curfew, and the house is a disaster, even the smallest thing, like avoiding soda and drinking water can send one over the edge. But staying comfortable in unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, soda, junk food, sitting on the couch all day, only makes you more irritable when the chaos ensues which then makes you crave your habits more. And a vicious cycle repeats itself.
- Psst – in reality, changing a habit like quitting soda is very hard for the short time, very hard. But in the long run, your brain will no longer be filled with sugar, caffeine, and garbage. You will be able to think more clearly and handle those teens with more calm and less explosive emotions. This in turn will make for less rebellious teens. Try telling a Coca cola drinker that.
- Example, people stay in unhappy and empty relationships because being single might be scary. What if loneliness is worse then the sad and empty relationship? I know many adults stuck in their jobs despite misery and hopelessness because quitting and starting fresh is scarrier then the misery they are currently feeling. And what if the new job ends up being worse then then one they currently have?
- Pssst- In reality, you will be sad and/or stressed at first, but a weight gets lifted off the shoulders when you no longer have to compromise, deal with a terrible boss, or walk on egg shells all the time around your boyfriend. You can focus on yourself and on what you truly want, rather then settling. Try telling that to anyone in a bad relationship or in a frustrating job.
Self doubt – a giant barrier to change. When we don’t believe in ourselves, we feel the whole world is watching us and if we attempt something new and we cannot do it, we do it wrong, or we give up, “they” will see us as a failure, incompetent, and worthless. Self doubt and lack of confidence are immobilizing.
- Environment – we create surroundings that are examples of our habits and emotions. People surrounding us come to depend on our habits and routines for their own well being. When we make a change, it will have a trickle effect on those surrounding us. Many of us anticipate that this trickle effect will be met with lots of whining, complaining, and lack of support. This can be overwhelming, so we start making excuses of why we cannot change. Excuses are Easy. Anticipating the unknown is Debilitating.
- Steps to Change
- Most of us want change to be fast, easy, cheap, and to require little effort (this is why the self-help industry is making a killing with words like magic, fast, easy, miracle, etc)
- Sooooooo….. How do we change anything? How do we become unstuck?
so many of my teen patients have made remarkable changes. When I ask them, “how did this happen?”, the unanimous answer is always, “I woke up one day feeling tired of the way I looked and the way I felt, so I decided to change things.” Nothing more and nothing less. This epiphany has led to change in so many of my teen patients. And I mean huge changes. In many, the inspiration gave them the courage to revise their life.
it takes courage to break up from a bad relationship and jump into the world of “singles.” Changing jobs is no small matter. Getting rid of juice from your house, taking pacifiers from toddlers, removing electronics from kids for a fresh start, can be as daunting to some parents as changing jobs or relationships is to other people. It takes a courage to overcome fear, self doubt, and to take a leap of faith.
Leap of Faith –
In my next post in this series, I will discuss various changes that can be made within families for a healthier and happier year.