Life is all about change but change is always frightening. Change is sometimes painful, sometimes beautiful but most times it’s both. They say, “Change is inevitable”. You can’t do without changes in life. How often has it been easy to switch our habits, goals, lifestyle, our attitude, behavior etc?? It’s never that easy!!. We always fight within ourselves for the discomfort we feel when we change anything in our surrounding or within ourselves. This fight is within us, within our minds.
Do you know how the mindset of each individual works? If a person brings about a change in his/her routine for the very first time, the mind triggers in discomfort giving a signal to your body about the unusual routine or sudden change. This way the feeling of uneasiness, unusual behavior and sudden surge of pressure or worry arises throughout your body. This also sometimes leads to fear. Fear creates blocks in your mind instantly. Fear of loss, fear of heights, fear of failures, fear of the unknown etc become prominent in your mind making it difficult for you to adapt to a new lifestyle or habit or behavior.
On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances.
That is the main reason why we have different brain rules devised to adapt to change in a systematic manner. Using these brain rules, if a person does/performs a task certain number of times or begins to repeat or relive those moments, it becomes a habit and he gets used to that routine/lifestyle or habit or behavior instantly. The mind gets the signal of comfort when a person has smoked or performed a certain task at a certain time or lived in a certain space on a continuous basis. This way the mind adapts to those habits. Like the 21/90 rule – this rule states that a person should have a personal or a professional goal for which, if he/she works on, for 21 days straight then it becomes a habit post which it can be carried on for the next 90 days.
In spite of change being uncertain and difficult, the good news is that science has proven that change can happen in stages. If there is a structure that is studied, tried, tested and maintained then change can be inculcated easily. Change can be brought out in structures – every little step , every baby step will work wonders :). We need to eliminate fears in this process of bringing in change which are also more associated with the behaviors of individuals. Let’s follow some steps to observe our behavior during the process of inculcating change so that we can make the process easy :).
1. Think of the consequences – Before you decide to bring about change, think of the end product or result of that change. Pen down the benefits or productive fruits that the change can get you. This way , your mind focusses on the end result and begins to take the first step. If the mind is reminded of the change benefits, it makes it easier for the process to be carried as the truth is that your mind works on benefits. When the end result is fed to your mind, it easily begins to picture it and work towards it. This context best suits for your goals – any goal that you have in mind, when you think of the end result of victory, achievement, growth or success , your mind begins to crave for it and begins to work in ways of attracting it.
2. Change should be positive – When the change is positive, the mind begins to adapt to the benefits attached to these changes. In continuation to the first point above, ensure that your change gets you a positive fruit instead of a negative one, as creation is more powerful than destruction. Be it the change of quitting smoking or keeping your temper under control – think of the benefits of good health, calm mindset, more healthy relationships, long life etc. All these results are positive , that give mind the motivation to begin to adapt that change in order to achieve them for you.
3. Enjoy the process – The beginning can be really difficult but as you keep momentum and keep it going, you need to definitely enjoy that change process. The more you enjoy, the more it will make you happy and adaptive. Taking my own example, I had put on weight post my visit to New York and I did not do any physical activity, my food habits were bad and it began to show up on my weight easily. Then my friends suggested home workouts. These are those apps, videos that you can watch and work out when you have even 10-20 mins at home to spare. I began doing that. In the beginning it used to be painful as these were mostly high intensity workouts but eventually I started loving the fact that my heartbeats increased, I was sweating and also the pain in my muscles body etc was a wonderful feeling. I began to enjoy the process. Weekends I used to work out for an hour and when I saw the changes I fell in love with the process.
4. Take baby steps – Change requires efforts and for me efforts be it big or small did not matter, you do a one hour workout or a 10 mins HIIT or a 2 mins skipping. Every step you take will take you closer to your goal. We tend to forget that babysteps still move us forward. It is better to do or try and fail than not to attempt at all out of fear. With small steps you still get into the process.
5. Reward yourself – As I mentioned in my earlier blog as well, it is important to reward yourself for putting yourself to the process of change and emerging victorious. As any effort counts , big or small so does each victory or win big or small counts. When you reward yourself for the little changes, for the attempts, for the victories you only grow in the process and this improves your self esteem and you build your own self respect higher and higher in your own eyes. Dance is my reward for doing my best in workouts, dance makes me happy. I keep that momentum going.
6. Simplify the process – Change can be complex or simple, it is all how your behavior adapts to it. You can definitely structure and simplify your change process well so that it becomes easy for you to understand and also help your mind accept it for good. If your goal is to organize your home or learn cooking, start from the plan – map it out so you could adapt and make it a habit to work on it effectively.
7. Prepare for problems – What is change without problems? Your mind is aware that change means running into issues, obstacles, all kinds of fears which is why it does not accept change in the first go. There will be problems at every step but that should be seen as a hurdle that you can cross rather than stones of rocks that you cannot move or remove. All problems have solutions – you need to chalk out the best solution so that you step ahead and not stand wasting your time or losing focus of your goal. A secret I would like to share – every problem that you solve out, it’s your win it’s your victory. Think in those terms and let the season of change flourish.
8. Slower the better – For change to succeed, it is not only important to get ahead but also the pace of your work. Not necessary you should be in a competitive mode to adapt to change. It is your life, you decide your pace. It can happen that when you act in haste, you may end up with more issues and less clarity. That’s why it is important to keep the speed slow to adapt better and plan your moves accordingly. This also helps your mind to not hit the trigger button leading to chaos and fears.
9. Remain calm – Change can be really small or big and in any situation it is important to remain calm and take the next moves, and not step back at any moment. Do not let chaos hit your mind. You have to keep your calm and have a strong positive thought process to ensure a smooth transition for the change in your life. A friend of mine had her best friend staying with her for years together and when her friend moved to her home town she was left all alone. It took her sometime to move to a new place and live alone but eventually she started liking to live all by herself. She spent her time well, going to the gym, reading, cooking new dishes etc. A great change to embrace.
10. Monitor your behavior – Change brings a lot of behavioral changes. For example, for me workouts bring a sense of accomplishment, makes my day active, I’m more energetic throughout the day no matter how hectic it is. Plus gives me good confidence to look forward to a good day with the numerous things that I have to do. It can be as small as happiness or energy boost that you see.
11. Request feedback – Everytime you see a change taking place, always look back to introspect and see how that change has been. Has it helped you get better or you are still feeling stagnant?. Are you making good progress or need more motivation and push? Are you able to move to your goals or need to re work on your plans. Keep this thought process of evaluation on to ensure life is moving in the right direction of the change you aim to bring about.
Let the change you seek in life be the best for you. It’s your life, the successes you get map them. Be wary of the environment, adapt to change in the way I have tried to outline above. Identify what works, revisit your plan regularly. Keep practicing, seek help. Reward yourself. Look forward for the best, the change can give you – physically, emotionally, professionally or personally :).