You’ve probably been tempted by books or programs offering to transform your life, e.g. “21 Days to a New You!” I confess I’m still tempted by them, but I now have enough wisdom to know that they are unlikely to work.
Most importantly I know why they are unlikely to work. This helps me see much more clearly how to make effective, and lasting changes.
Now for the science bit. Your ancient ancestor walking around on four legs (no, not that embarrassing relative at the family wedding) had a bit of their brains devoted to keeping them alive if they should be attacked. Evolution has adopted this mechanism in modern humans to include our own psychological identity. So if our identity is attacked we will vigorously defend that, too.
You’ve probably experienced this many times. One person might happily comply with a simple request, whereas another will vociferously fight back. For the second person, somehow they feel that their identity is under attack.
In the same way, forcing ourselves to change too quickly will trigger this same mechanism in us.
So how do we make lasting changes?
Take lots of small steps over time. That’s the secret. Each individual step is small enough that it won’t trigger your defensive mechanism.
How does this idea fit with your own experience of change?