„If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.“
– Henry Ford
We have all been there: we want to work more effectively, to exercise more, to prepare our own meals more often or to develop professionally. However, affecting real change is easier said than done. Why is that? Because humans are creatures of habit that dislike change. Our brain loves routines and anything else would cost extra energy. That is why change – of whatever kind – seems very stressful to us. However, it is possible to re-educate the creature of habit, enabling change and development. We have put together a few tips to help you make a change.
… and how we can still succeed
Tip no. 1: see change as an opportunity
Keep the benefits change could bring in mind. To do this, for example, you could draw up a list of pros and cons. Realise that change always brings about personal development, too. This in turn provides you with the necessary motivational kick.
Tip no. 2: think of it as a long-distance run instead of a sprint
Making a change takes time – and that is exactly what can be frustrating because we want to see change and the successes it brings as quickly as possible. However, re-educating the creature of habit is a long-term process throughout which new behaviours must first be established. Look at it positively: you do not have to implement everything at once. It makes more sense to divide the goal you set yourself into individual small steps that are limited in time and manageable.
Tip no. 3: identify hurdles and seek allies
On the path of change, you will encounter hurdles that need to be overcome. Unmask possible ‘culprits’ such as stress, distraction and tiredness in advance: when you are aware of what is slowing you down, you can specifically do something about it, e.g., by looking for allies who are pursuing similar goals and have to deal with the same stumbling blocks. It is a well-known fact that we are stronger together than alone. Mutual motivation and the feeling of ‘not having to go through it alone’ help to stick to the goal. Group dynamics additionally generate a kind of commitment that provides a boost when your motivation is low.
Tip no. 4: take it easy!
Do not be too hard on yourself. It is perfectly fine if, for once, you do not feel like exercising or indulge in pizza from the take-away for dinner. The key is not to let the creature of habit take over again, but simply to pick up where you left off the next day.