Why don’t we take action toward what it is we say we want? What are we afraid of? Is the status quo that inert on us? Are we happier with the way things are vs. how we say we wish they were? What is going on here? What is standing in our way?
It is us. We are standing in our own way. Negative thoughts block our action impulses. We talk ourselves out of doing things, even when we know they are good for us. Most of us cannot even eat the right foods we know will help power us through our day. Many of us struggle with an exercise regimen. So, we do nothing. We keep the same poor habits. We don’t progress. We remain stuck. But I thought we were ready for change in a new direction!? What’s going on here?
There is a mountain of difference between saying you want to change and actually following through with the behavior change. Adult behavior change is hard. Most of us are terrible at it. We lack follow through. We lack sticktoitiveness. We say we want something, but are unable to push through the early difficulty to get to the new path. Sure, some desire might be there, but it’s woefully inadequate to get us to where we want to go. These desires and their motivations can be rather fickle. We have to employ discipline if we’re to really get after it, to get going.
Many of us make the mistake of starting with big behavior changes. For example, we’ll say we’ll go from not going to the gym at all to going to the gym 5 times per week at 90 minute sessions. That’s a big time stretch, to go from no working out at all to five 90 minute sessions. The problem with these such behaviors is they are very hard to stick to. To go from zero to 100 MPH in the world of behavior is a difficult path on which to remain. It is far better to start small — and consistently — to build the neural pathways and discipline of the new behavior. Start with going to the gym three times per week for 20 minute sessions. This is doable for anyone. And it will keep you on the path of consistency. It is the small, regular behaviors that end up changing lives, not the big marathons of behavior change that few stick to. We must build momentum with the right, consistent behavior to keep us on the new path.
You will fall off. When it happens, don’t beat yourself up. Remind yourself that changing behavior is hard work that few can stick to. Get back up and put yourself back on the path you desire. Forgive yourself for the transgression against what you say you want. Then, recommit. Then, try to keep at it again. Remember: small steps. Six pack abs never happen overnight. Neither does successful entrepreneurship. They require consistent action and discipline to be successful.