“Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.“

James Arthur Baldwin

Change is inevitable and just like death and taxes, change is one of the very few constants in life. Sometimes we are ready for it, every so often it is forced upon us and occasionally, we actively make the decision to change. Nevertheless, change for many of us is something that we would rather avoid, preferring to settle rather than embrace the transformation. 

Consequently, our reluctance and opposition make us resistant to change. Yet, while we cannot control much of the world changing around us, we can control how we respond.  We can choose to anticipate and embrace changes. Just as King Canute discovered when he commanded the tide not to rise, resisting change is like trying to stem the flood, futile and useless. 

So why the reluctance and resistance? Part of the reason is that change brings uncertainty, and many of us would rather be unhappy than uncertain. Neuroscience  research (1) shows us that uncertainty generates a strong threat or ‘alert’ response in our limbic system*. This leads to worry and speculation allowing our mind to create fictional outcomes, which in turn impairs our ability to focus on other matters at hand.  

To our brain, uncertainty is like a form of discomfort or pain, that needs to be avoided.  Whereas certainty feels rewarding and so we tend to navigate toward it planting the seed of  ‘habit’, even when it might be wiser for us to remain uncertain. 

* The limbic system is a set of structures in the brain that deal with emotions and memory.  It regulates autonomic or endocrine function in response to emotional stimuli and also is  involved in reinforcing behaviour.

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“Change. It has the power to uplift, to heal, to stimulate, surprise,  open new doors, bring fresh experience and create excitement in life.  Certainly, it is worth the risk.” 

Dr. Felice Leonardo Buscaglia 

Do your habits support you? 

Confucius wrote, “The nature of people is always the same; it is their habits that separate  them.” There is nothing wrong with having habits; it is just that some habits can support  us, while others hold us back. Successful people have effectively developed the behaviour patterns that support their success. In short, doing those things that the majority of us do  not want to do, practicing them successfully and consistently refining and improving.

If you believe your habits are holding you back, it is imperative to realise that the only thing stopping you from moving on, is the understanding that you can change. You do not have to  be this person. You have made yourself into this person and you are far more than the sum  total of your habits. 

What precedes all our behaviours, actions and performances? What turns a dream into  reality? Decisions. If you make the decision and choose to make some different choices to  the ones you are making now, you will succeed.  

On the whole, most of our daily choices are made unconsciously, they form habits and patterns that we are not even aware of. So, if we wish to change our habits, we first need to be aware of them. Then we need to work backwards from the habit to the daily routines that mould them. To change the habit, we need to change those practices. 2

To take this one step further and help facilitate change, we must consider the internal and  external aspects of change. Simply put, we make an internal decision to change, which we  then endorse with an external change. An example being the decision to lose weight, you make the conscious decision to improve your eating habits, which you then support by  changing your external environment.

By removing all the treats and sugary temptations from your kitchen, it becomes difficult for you to snack, and thus your weight loss process is supported. When we change our environment, it forces us to change.  

TASK: Make a list of your habits, both good and bad. Try and identify those that  support you in life and those that hold you back. Pinpoint the habits you would most  like to change and develop an internal and external strategy to manifest this change.  

Set yourself a realistic time frame in order for this to happen and enlist the support of  friends and family to help make this change happen.  

Change is life and successfully coping with change means choosing to grow and  develop and flourish. Avoiding change, impinges growth and you wither. 
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Habits

TASK: Make a list of your habits, both good and bad. Try and identify those that  support you in life and those that hold you back. Pinpoint the habits you would most  like to change and develop an internal and external strategy to manifest this change.  

Set yourself a realistic time frame in order for this to happen and enlist the support of  friends and family to help make this change happen.  

Change is life and successfully coping with change means choosing to grow and  develop and flourish. Avoiding change, impinges growth and you wither. 

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