Resistance to Chang is a Normal Part of Growth
Undertaking a new goal of establishing a healthy habit starts as an exciting endeavor. Contemplating the result and how that will impact one’s life leads to hope of a better future. However, once an individual has begun his journey on the path, resistance will inevitably arrive in time. During those episodes of internal conflict, it is vital to remember that this should come as an expectation and not confirmation of a foolish decision to try something new.
Human beings’ brains evolved to strategically monitor risk as it relates to participating in new tasks. Our early ancestors had many threats within their environment, which required vigilance within the mind. As our species has continued to evolve, our threat levels have reduced significantly from ancient times to today. Although, our minds continuously produce thoughts of possibilities or scenarios that may never occur. The mind acts as if these thoughts are responses to external pressures, but in many instances, the reality is that these are reflexive thoughts to the advent of change.
Doubt Will Inevitable Creep Up On You – Acknowledge it, then Forge On
For example, I have attempted to learn a second language for a substantial period of time. I have started and quit a few times over the years. The main stumbling block to continuing the practice necessary to comprehending another language has been my mind’s thoughts of doubt. How long will this take? Will I ever be able to understand when a native speaker talks versus listening to recordings? These questions I have now were the same ones I held in the beginning. The task’s difficulty has not changed; only my response has shifted based on the wisdom of now realizing this is the paradox of the mind. I cannot stop the thoughts but accept their occurrence and continue toward the goal.
Comprehending the mind’s paradox is essential, considering Lally (2010) found that the average time for subjects establishing a new habit reached that point at 66 days. However, the range of individual participants was between 18 and 254 days. So, based on the individual developing the habit, it could take less than a month or over eight months!
Dealing with disbelief requires self-awareness around the mind’s reflexive thoughts. Accepting that truth will make developing habits less difficult; fighting the thought creates fatigue. There is only so much mental energy we have available to expend in a given day. Understanding our mind’s reflexive tendency to make situations more difficult can lead us to at least not making things worse. That fact alone should cause us to pause and reflect properly before we act on doubt.
3 Steps to Busting Self-Doubt
Next time you commit to a new goal or try to establish a new habit, keep in mind these three tips:
1. Every new task comes with a learning curve. Unless you are a natural genius, you won’t succeed right away. Just like learning to walk or to ride a bike, you fall, get hurt, but stand up and keep doing it till you become great at it. Expect these difficulties and “roll” with it.
2. Realize that the inner negative chatter can try to derail you through doubts and other self-defeating chatter. Know that this chatter is only temporary. You have the power to keep going when those thoughts arise.
3. Know your WHY – keep in mind daily Why you want to achieve this goal? Why do you want to adopt this new habit? This can help keep you going during the times the “going gets tough.”
Vertis Williams is a Positive Habits Life Coach and a Mindfulness Trainer. He is a regular presenter at employee and team-development events. Contact him to request more info on his Workshops or on his Coaching Services! Click HERE to Request a Complimentary Habit Coaching Session!