The biggest mistake we make when trying to change

One of the biggest reasons that we don’t change is because we are more comfortable doing what we have always done. Our brain likes to keep engaging in the same patterns because it is comfortable and requires little energy. One of the hardest things about 2020 was changing to a new routine.

When we try and change, we usually rely on just motivation. We decide on a certain day or at a certain event that we are going to make a change and we motivate ourselves to do so. This is usually a mistake for one simple reason. To change for good, we need to organize the change in such a way that it works for us long term. Getting excited about a change can help you start but continuing requires a whole different kind of thinking.

The motivation gets us to deal with the discomfort you see. But, invariably, we find ourselves stuck because we can only hold out so long. Instead, what we need to do is to find a way to make the new habit or way of thinking more comfortable to us so it becomes effortless and no longer requires motivation. Part of this is time and repetition but that can’t always sustain it. Instead, we need to find ways to organize our worlds more effectively so it is conducive to us living in the new way.

Along the way, there are plenty of association traps which involve triggers that make us feel a certain way which try and drag us back into the old mindset that we used to have when we engaged in the old way of doing things. To change, we must be vigilant and find ways to prepare for and handle whatever problems come our way.

We must think of the future as something to build, as opposed to expecting that because we are motivated right now that we will be motivated a month from now. When the motivation wanes we must be ready to pick up the baton and keep going. We must drive forward and deal with whatever battles we must face along the way.

Motivation is important. It provides us with the energy we need to go after what we want and to initiate the change that we need to initiate. It gives us the fuel that gets us to take the big actions at the start. However, once we get going, we must start making the new behaviors become the normal behaviors. We must learn to do what we need to do despite what we feel at the time. We must focus on executing the plan and not continuously overthink it or adjust it too many times.

Success doesn’t come about because you want it. It comes about because you want it and you work for it and you take the opportunities you get and you become relentless in search of it. Success happens because of what we consistently do and think.

When I created the Changing Minds monthly membership, my goal was to offer consistent training in topics like motivation, discipline, resilience and anti-fragility so I could help people find a place where they could be trained regularly in operating their brains better. I wanted it to be a gym for the brain and for your emotional and psychological health and well-being. Now, having just reopened it for the next week, I’m excited to welcome more people in.


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