Change is Complex
The start of the year brings lots of resolutions and promises to make change which in reality often lead to disappointment and a perceived sense of failure. This is because often people rely too much on willpower when trying to bring about change. However making changes to the way we behave is complex and there is a big gap between our intentions and our actions.
Psychologists have spent years researching the complexity making healthy lifestyle changes. So far, we understand some of the factors that determine change. One such factor is our beliefs about what we are trying to change
What do you really believe about the change you want to make? Do you really want to quit smoking? Can you really see yourself going to the gym three times a week?
Make your goal specific and give it a timeframe, then rate how good and pleasant you think the action needed will be. For example:
My exercising for at least 20 minutes, three times per week for the next three months would be
unpleasant pleasant :___1__:___2__:___3__:___4__:___5__:___6__:___7___:
If you rate your belief about your change as 4 or under, it is better to revise your goal to something that you perceive to be good and pleasant. Eventually the goals can be revised, this way you will make small steps towards your desired change and get out of the loop of high expectations of self, use of willpower, perceived failure, negative attitude towards yourself and the change you are trying to make.