Practical tips for making permanent changes in your life.
"No one can go back and start a new life, but each of us can start a new life today."
Today I want to give you a little demonstration of magic: thanks to the power of Grayskull, I will read your mind… are you ready ?!
Take a deep breath, focus on the power of the flying potato and ... go:
- you have decided to read this article because you feel the need to change at least one fundamental aspect of your life;
- for some time you have been looking for practical solutions to "make the change";
- you have read books, blog articles, you have seen films that have motivated you and you have been inspired by those who have made it;
- in the recent past you decided it was time for a real change;
- in the first days it did not go badly, but then life took over and the enthusiasm of the beginning inexplicably vanished;
- you tried another 2-3 times, but the result was always the same: failure.
How did I do?! I told you: I have the powers!
If you've found yourself in many of the points listed above, well… there is one good news for you: Believe it or not, today is the first day of your new life.
Because the change doesn't last
If I read your mind right, you too like me, you will have tried to change at least a hundred times: maybe you wanted to quit smoking, start a healthy sporting activity again, or change a trait of your character that you just couldn't stand.
Do you remember how it went? Let's see if I still have some of that magic powder left ... (not that!)
- hai fixed one day (tomorrow, Monday, the 1st of the month, January 1st, etc.) and you promised yourself that your life would be turned upside down as if by magic;
- that day has come and indeed you managed to keep your good intentions;
- yours motivation was at the highest level, but after a few days, maintaining the change required a considerable expenditure of energy; you had to keep the focus on change, you felt that your life was full of constrictions;
- i first doubts have crept into your mind: “Is it worth it?”;
- for the first time you saw the warm beach of La temptation. You started linking to new habits more and more pain, suffering and fatigue; on the contrary the old habits seemed so sweet to you, pleasant and reassuring.
- Suddenly that day has come; you woke up with a crooked foot, the world seemed to be angry with you, everything you did went wrong and then ... then you have decided to make an exception: fucked up! had you just given in to change and inevitably returned to square one?
Yes Andre it went exactly like this: but didn't you explain to me why the change doesn't last?
Simple: because we make change unnatural.
We need so that the appearance seems different, that we do everything to make the change something foreign to our daily life.
- We set a date for the change, underlining that it is a different moment from today, something different from the here and now (remember this expression for the next articles… here and now ;-).
- We make change difficult, telling us the joke that self-discipline and willpower are perpetual.
- We make change so hateful that we inevitably end up idealizing our dear old habits.
The truth is that the only change that works is what you don't perceive.
Ok Andre, but you know I like you when you are practical: well, how can I make permanent changes ?!
How to make permanent changes
In my experience I have found that to make the really effective change there are some small rules of thumb to follow:
- Don't set dates for change. Loading a few days (tomorrow, Monday, etc.) with a special meaning creates an unconscious tension in you: the time that separates you from the start date becomes a sort of no-man's land where everything is allowed. If you have decided to start a new diet, you will probably indulge in any excess before starting it - this will only accentuate the difference between the pleasure of the old habit and the pain of the change. Start your change today, now - don't delay even 1 second.
- Don't turn your life upside down. Remember the aneduct of the boiled frog? If you "dip" your bad habits into the boiling pot, they will pop up and take over your life again. If, on the other hand, you immerse them in the pot when the water is still cold and slowly, you will slowly raise the temperature, you will be able to "boil" them without them noticing. Follow the rule of 1, change one small step at a time, and build your next change on the changes you have already consolidated.
- Make the change enjoyable. If you think about replacing a habit that you know is bad, but that you consider pleasant, with a habit that you know is good, but that you consider unpleasant, you have lost from the start. If you really want to break the old habit, you must first make it unpleasant. Think about all the things you have to give up because of your bad habit, think about how miserable it is making your life. If necessary, compare yourself with those who have a completely opposite conception of your habit: try to understand why those who do not smoke hate smoking; try to understand why a thin person considers food only a source of nutrients and not of pleasure. Only after making the old habit something unpleasant can you start thinking about your new habit: think about how to make it enjoyable, think about everything it will allow you to achieve, how it will make you feel. Putting your mind at your service is the greatest personal growth achievement you can achieve. There are no absolute truths: choose the truths that suit you.
Wow, this article came out a little longer than usual, I'd say it's time to celebrate: after all today is the first day of your new life!