Why do people learn what it takes to be successful, and then fail to follow through and apply it? The answer is, their old behavior patterns are already ingrained and comfortable, while the new way is not.
But your habitual way of doing things isn't always the best way. At some point, you may realize that it causes problems for you and others. It’s as if some of the twists and turns in your route are hazardous. They could be slowing you down.
And then you learn about a better way.
But changing a behavior pattern means rewiring your brain. Like building a brand new superhighway, the construction takes time. When you start connecting the brain cells, it’s like grading a new dirt road. It’s rough traveling at first, but you build it up each time you go down it, and the going slowly gets easier. If you stick with it, your new highway will eventually be ready for high-speed use.
But to get that efficient super-highway, you have to persist through the construction phase, which could take months. Progress is always slow and rough going. When there are unexpected difficulties and setbacks, you’ll be tempted to go back to using your old, familiar route.
And that’s what happens to most people. When the new way seems like a struggle, they fall back on old, comfortable behavior patterns. They know what they should be doing and they know the old way causes issues, but they aren’t willing to pay the price to change, and they’d rather stick with what’s already familiar.
This is why most attempts to change behavior fail. The going gets rough and people give up. People fall off the wagon. They eat that big piece of pie. They have that cigarette. They go back to the old way of swinging the golf club. They stop trying to listen in a different way.
You definitely can make the change. People do it all the time. But it boils down to this: How badly do you want it? Do you want it enough to keep on repeating the new, desired behavior even when it feels awkward or isn't working most of the time?
Even if your success, your health or your happiness depends on it, this kind of perseverance takes a lot of commitment.
Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2011. Building Personal Strength . (Permission to use images purchased from fotolia.net)