It takes courage to change. Taking on new behaviors can be unpopular.
Adult behavior change is hard. Once we develop habits and recurring behaviors, we tend to be set in them. Switching them out or otherwise changing them is some of the most difficult work a person can do. It is also some of the most important. The ability to drop a bad habit and swap in a good one is a celebration of one’s humanity. It is definitive proof of change we’re capable of. Most adults don’t think they’re capable of changing bad behaviors or improving themselves in the ways they want. They feel they’re too set in their ways. As in night people cannot become morning people. As in people who have never worked out before in their lives cannot become psychically active. As in people who subsist off of fast food cannot learn to cook simple, healthy meals. As in people who have never traveled before cannot wake up one day and decide to visit another state. Yes, they can. Some of this is hard. But some of it isn’t. It is more mindset than anything else. How do we choose to view ourselves? Are we the type of person that…does this? Is this our identity? Is this how we align? How do you view yourself? Openminded and willing to try new things? Or closed off, unwilling to pursue and capture new experiences? Where are you too set in your ways? Where are you lacking progress where you otherwise would like to see it? Are you too stubborn in the areas that matter the most? Do you have reason to be this way? As unrealistic as it may seem to some, we’re all capable of positive change in the direction we wish to go. We just need a framework, a process, and a coach to help us get better.
It is vital to note that we have to want to get better. There can be no change without first being willing to see its necessity. If we are unwilling to see that the change must happen, then no change will come. If we feel we’re on the right track and that we really have no need to change at all, then good luck in its pursuit. We are very unlikely to move if we feel we’re good where we’re at. Realistically, though, we all have areas of improvement. All of us. Even those who are already successful have areas where they can be better. For example, a snarky, negative attitude is not one of the traits responsible for your success. Nor is being unnecessarily cruel to people just because you have power. The fallacy that people fall for is they believe that these negative traits are one of the reasons for their success. It becomes a sort of superstition. One trait does not a successful person make. If you really do not want to get better and improve, then it will not come to you. Behavior change in a positive direction is too hard for this to happen. So we stick to our default, to what we’ve always known — the status quo. What could be easier?
It takes courage to change. We’re taking on new behaviors that our friends, family and colleagues may not like to see us take on. Envy may ensue because of the new way you carry yourself or tell people about the changes you make. Those closest to you may not like to hear it. They like the old, reliable you they’ve known for years. The social aspects of behavior change are difficult. People shape us whether we admit it or not. The 5 Person Rule is alive and well when it comes to our daily behaviors. We are the average of the 5 people we hang around with the most. The only way to change this is to change the people we hang around with the most. People don’t like it when you tell them this, but it is true. We have to keep our expectations high of those closest to us. Without it, our average falls and we fall along with it. It take courage to change because we’re developing a new identity. We’re identifying with a new version of who we are and are trying to sell it to others. This isn’t easy, especially since so many of us are set in our ways of doing things. But we persevere, pursuing the change necessary for it to stick. It largely depends upon how badly we want the new change and how deep our desire is for it. It also depends on who we rely upon for social support in our new change. Who’s there to help us? Do not underestimate the importance of social support. While few of us are strong enough to go it alone, most of us are not. We need people to cheer us on, keep tabs on us, and check in with us regularly to make sure we’re on the right track. This support — even prodding — is helpful in making behavior change stick. We do not want to let people down.
One of the most important gauges of behavior change and ensuring it sticks is scoring yourself on a weekly basis. How are you really doing? Brendon recommends a Sunday weekly review. How did you do the previous week in the areas that matter the most to you? 1 to 10 scale. This is a particularly painful exercise for most people, especially early on in the behavior change process. No one wants to see brutal honesty like this laid out in front of them regularly. A bunch of 5s when it should be a bunch of 9s is a tough read, particularly for high performers who are used to high grades. The honest scorecard of self-assessment is a wake-up call for many. How did you do in the categories that matter the most to you? Yet these negative trends offer the regular alarms and notifications that we cannot ignore. It is right there in front of us — again and again. And these are our own judgements. We have no one else to blame. It is all on us.