Why is making massive changes in our lives hard to sustain?
We are wired to stay safe. We are wired to survive.
When our “normal” is eating crappy food and drinking too much alcohol, we feel safe. There's a comfort in making those choices because it's what we do on a regular basis.
Then there comes a time when we desperately want to make changes in our lives, but our brain freaks out because we’re stepping outside our safety zone. Maybe it’s losing weight, or quitting smoking, or starting your own business, or cutting back on alcohol, or quitting your job… it’s natural for us to RESIST change.
Intellectually we know making these changes are good for us. We know incorporating healthier lifestyle choices into our lives will in fact help us to survive and live longer… but our brain doesn’t see it that way. All it sees is that we have felt safe eating crappy food and drinking too much wine, so making these changes must be a bad thing. From the brain's perspective, making these changes will put us in harms way.
Let’s say the goal is to lose 20 pounds. Immediately the brain resists – Danger! Danger! Danger! However most of us will take action against that resistance because we REALLY want to achieve the goal. We’ll set up accountability partners… we’ll create schedules & strategies… we’ll see what others have done and do the same things… we’ll do whatever we can to push back on the natural resistance we feel as we start working towards accomplishing our goals.
Here’s the problem with that – it’s not sustainable.
It's what I call white knuckling. White knuckling requires so much energy and effort, that it can't last. You’re holding on so tight, through shear will power, for as long as you can in order to succeed... but it’s not sustainable and eventually you'll break.
If you didn’t put your hand up, you lie about other things as well.
Then afterwards you tell yourself that change isn’t possible for you. That you just don’t have it in you… that you’re not strong enough, good enough, or disciplined enough. How many of you can also relate to that?
Again, if you didn’t put your hand up you’re lying to yourself.
The next time you set out to create massive changes in your life, guess what will happen? The resistance will come back up.
The key to achieving your goals and creating long term change in your life that is effortless, is to ANTICIPATE the resistance. Encourage it. Get to know it.
This is how we can make sustainable changes because instead of fighting against the resistance we’re going to use it to propel us forward. The more we get accustomed to using the resistance, the better we get at making massive changes in our lives that stick!
Here’s the thing… Our natural survival mechanism isn’t going away. The resistance we feel towards change isn’t going away. So instead of fighting an “enemy” with will power by white knuckling through the process and trying to push against the resistance, work WITH IT so you can achieve your goals and create positive evidence (instead of the negative trash talk).
If you have goals you want to accomplish… you need to become accustomed to change.
If there is a life you are envisioning for yourself that is different from the one you are living… you need to become accustomed to change.
If you want to continue to grow, learn and evolve… you need to become accustomed to change.
Is working WITH the resistance easy? The honest answer is no.
Overcoming what our brain and our body do as a natural response to change is not easy, but after you do it in one area of your life it becomes easier to apply in other areas of your life.
I started working WITH resistance when I became an entrepreneur. I was scared out of my mind when I started Anamaya. ALL the doubt demons came out to tell me what a crazy idea it was to start a business in a country I didn’t live in or speak the language, in an industry I knew nothing about.
As I learned to work WITH the fear and not try to ignore it, or pretend it didn’t exist, or fight against it – I was able to harness my power and create a multimillion-dollar business that has survived 2 downturned economies and a global pandemic.
Then I learned to incorporate working with the resistance in my relationships… my other businesses... my health… and my relationship with money.
This is Day 22 of my 30-day renewal, and at the beginning I pushed against the resistance, I pushed against the urges, and then on day 6 I caved.
Then I realized, I didn’t get clear on my why… but I also realized I was resisting.
Now I’m much clearer on my WHY and when the urges come up I anticipate them, and I embrace them. Sometimes I even say them out loud! I'll say, "I really want that popcorn that you guys are eating"! Just by saying it out loud the energy of wanting it dissipates. I embrace the fact that I want the popcorn, I get clear on my WHY, and I tell myself as much as I want it, I’m not going to have it because… (and I give my reasons).
Then I grab myself something I can eat that's on my plan, or make myself a cup of tea and I feel better. The white knuckling isn't as intense because I've embraced how I'm feeling.
It sounds simple but let me tell you it takes practice. Most people will either make an excuse and decide to cheat (which is what I did on day 6), or white knuckle through the desire only to cheat on another day.
Admitting you want to cave doesn’t make you weak… it helps you take your power back. It helps you acknowledge the truth about how you’re feeling. It allows you to check in with the thoughts running through your mind so you can recognize them and shift them to something more positive, productive and sustainable.
Another way to reduce the amount of resistance is through meditation. It allows you to get very clear on the internal chatter and bring awareness to your unconscious behaviors and thought patterns.
I've created a Meditation For Success program that will allow you to embrace the fears and the resistance that comes up and clear it out by acknowledging it and properly processing it. Meditation allows me to perform at my highest level, and what I love about this program is that I've incorporated many different styles of meditation so you can keep going back to the ones that work the best for you... or the ones that you feel you need depending on how you're feeling.
Here's what one of my happy clients said about the program:
"Kelsey Matheson's 30-Day Meditation program offered me a wonderful experience with guided meditation. The meditations were interesting, informative, supportive and challenging. I loved the opportunity to experience a progressive meditation practice that create spaces for beneficial learnings and reflections and challenged and supported me in ways that I haven’t experienced before with meditation. I have always struggled with visualization but really enjoyed the integration of it into several of the meditation practices and do feel that I gained valuable practice and ability. The meditations are powerful and I have already used several of them more than once as they challenged me to want to practice and grow, learning more about myself along the way." - Joan
If you'd like to lower your stress levels and streamline the process to achieving your goals, then I invite you to check out my 30 Day Meditation Program HERE.
Life is more fun with friends.
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