A post from our Community Correspondent Marilena Balagianni
When thinking about change the first thing that comes to my mind is how habitual our species is and how we fail to recognise this. Although we can change, it is more probable to keep doing the things we do not want to do , instead of ´just´stopping. People when they fail to change, think that they did not try hard enough or that they did not really want to change. I think though that this is one of the problems related with change. That we do not realise what it takes to change. In my experience, the more I try to change something drastically the more I fail. Exactly because I try too hard at once! The truth though is that change does not require a lot of effort all at once but rather patience and diligence. This is my weakness. Other people though, give excuses when faced with obstacles – that it is in their nature or that it is too hard to change and they will inevitably fail. I find this approach leads to self-sabotage.
How can we change then? Real change comes first from awareness. I try to identify the reasons why I want to change and how this change will serve me. Many people for example, aim to wake up at 5 in the morning. My question to them would be ´why?´. One has to give a very specific reason to convince his body to get up some hours before the usual. At the same time, one has to be aware of the ´bad habits´ that he has to modify. If one has to wake up at 5, one has to go to sleep at 9. Sleeping at 12 is no longer an option. As we can see, it is important to break down the new habit. Waking up early means going to bed early. Going to sleep early also means that you need to eat earlier and have coffee earlier. Maybe even stop going out with friends. There are many factors that people usually do not take into account. It is not that they do not want to wake up early. It is that maybe they want to go to bed late more than they think. Also, waking up at 5 might take some time to achieve. One might need to experiment first waking up at 7 then at 6 and ultimately at 5. You have to commit, and commitment is complicated. You have to be realistic but unfortunately we love telling stories to ourselves about how things work that are not true. Phenomenally simple things can be difficult and complex things.
Imagine now that we are speaking about something more vague than waking up early, like ameliorating your mental health. We can see that things can be even trickier and there is a need to not only be determined but willing to learn from the mistakes that will come in the way and adapt. Besides having a positive mindset, it is equally important to engage fully in our daily life in order to change for the best. Change is not something that comes from casual engagement. Discipline and constant work will only get us closer to the self we want.