Sometimes the place you’re used to being in, is not the place that you belong in!
I came across this quote during a podcast I was listening to and found it resonated so much with some of our clients, so many struggle to change, they know what they need to do but they can’t make that change.
So why is change so hard?
A lot of people struggle with change, they know what they need to do but don’t know how to get there or even how to start.
Change is not a 1-time thing, eg. Oh I’m going to exercise today and that’s it I’m done!! it’s not just about making that change but continuing to do those behaviours. A lot of times we think about making the changes but not how we are going to maintain them.
We can come across many things that stop us making the first step, such as family, work, mental health or even a gap in our knowledge. Sometimes in our line of work, we come across people that need to change their dietary habits because they are overweight or even obese but when you dig deeper they don’t even know how to cook and they have been living on processed foods or take always for the past few years. Knowledge and skills can be a hinderance too.
Sometimes it’s also lifestyle, we come across this with many of our busy parents, long days at work, home to help the kids with their homework and not realising it’s 10pm and you have no food prepared. Does this resonate? If you are surrounded by junk food, snacks, high fats foods, it’s much easier to reach out for these foods in these circumstances. In this scenario it takes much longer to initiate change.
Do you end up beating yourself up about how others find it so easy to make these changes but you can’t?
Why do we get stuck in the same routine and same behaviours when we know what needs to be done?
What you have to realise is that the behaviours that contributed to your weight gain for example, you have been doing for a long time. For example, the habits that can contribute to your weight gain an unhealthy lifestyle say for 15 years, and then decide you’re going to make that change and in your head you’re thinking this is going to be quick, everyone else have blitzed it in 2 weeks! This is where problems start. Research suggests when we adopt new habits it can take from 18 to 254 days for something to be automatic.
Have you forced yourself in doing things that you don’t actually enjoy, just because everyone else is doing it and chances are you will fall of track, in comes that negative self-talk again. HERE WE GO AGAIN!
How you go about making the changes is imperative. Below we list our Top 5 tips on making changes:
1. Don’t make drastic changes – if for the past year you been having 10 cans of fizzy drinks daily, going cold turkey and removing them totally from your diet will have a more detrimental effect than bringing the number down slowly.
2. Choose who you have around you – a lot of the time the choices we make are determined by those we are surrounded with. Choose your company wisely
3. Change your environment – Trying to change a health-related behaviour without changing your environment is a recipe for disappointment, especially when trying to kick a bad habit. It’s why one of the first things someone starting a diet might do is rid their pantry of yummy, carb-loaded snacks.
Trying to kick your sugar habit? The last thing you need is that candy jar to be sitting out on your kitchen table, calling to you every time you pass by. Get rid of the sweets — the kids don’t need it, either. Try filling your jar with almonds or vegetable chips instead!
4. Work towards small attainable goals:
We don’t try what we think we can’t do, which includes overly ambitious goals that may not only feel unattainable, but also cause us to feel anxiety or even fear when we think about them.
You may know that you should sleep 8 hours per night to be at your best, have a predisposition to diabetes that demands a low-sugar diet, need to lose 100 pounds, or want to hike the Grand Canyon before you turn 50. But to someone who regularly has to stay up late after the kids go to bed to get work done, someone with a sweet tooth, someone who can’t easily exercise or someone who has never hiked a trial, these goals might at best seem to be “pie in the sky,” at worst they might cause stress and anxiety.
But what if you instead set a challenge of going to bed a minute earlier every night? Or decided to cut out just one of your sugary snacks per day, or put one less teaspoon of sugar in your coffee, gradually working down to cream only? What if you started your journey to Grand Canyon with a daily mile-long walk every weekend?
These goals are much less daunting, and in achieving them you will build up the confidence and positive past experiences needed to tackle larger goals and behaviour changes. This is self-efficacy at its best.
5. Give it time – Change takes time – Be patient and kind to yourself.
Research in the field of health behaviour has established five stages of change. The first stage is pre-contemplation, in which you become aware of a problem behaviour and seek out information related to its negative impacts and how you might change it, like stress management for example.
Next, you’ll contemplate change and prepare to undertake the new health behaviour. After contemplation, which might be prompted by a talk with your doctor or getting advice from a friend or family member, you’ll move into preparation, and finally into action.
If you stick with it, the final phase is maintenance of your new behaviour.
At Steelextreme we specialise in changing behaviours whilst working together with our clients to establish a good foundation that will help them maintain the progress they achieved with us.