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Change is Easy

How to change habits?

“The only constant in life is change” Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher.

Change is inevitable in this ever-so dynamic world. Yet we resist and react to change unless it is out of an aberration or danger. In the past few years, the Pandemic has created fissures in the old structures, forms, and significances and paved the way for the ‘new normal’. This new world demands a much faster rate of change and resilience. It requires us to look at our own old beliefs, thoughts, perceptions, and expectations that no longer works for us. Here are a few insights into why change is hand and what can we do to have ease with it? 

How many of us find change difficult, challenging, tedious, unfavorable? There may be some specific areas in our lives where we feel change is difficult.  It could be your habit, relationship, body, finances, or anything else. For instance, people who struggle with their weight. No matter how much they exercise or diet, the weight doesn’t seem to budge. Relationships are even harder to change. No matter how much people try to communicate, compromise, they aren’t able to have the relationship they desire with that person. Habits have a reputation to be difficult to change, be it addiction or the simplest of the habits of getting up early in the morning. 

Now would be a good time to look at the basic and fundamental reasons why change is so difficult

Social conditioning 

The point of views we form about ‘change’ itself can be limiting to create a change. The best place to start unlocking these limitations is to ask a question: Whose point of views about change am I buying into that doesn’t allow me to change with ease? 

Our brains are hardwired for familiarity, which makes change difficult. We are socialized from an early age to look for solace in the familiar. Deeply rooted habits and routines that feel safe and predictable are formed as a result of this conditioning.

Our minds see each change as a danger to this security. It sets off a stress reaction that makes the fight-or-flight reflex active. Furthermore, creating new habits and kicking old ones is often necessary for change. It requires patience, perseverance, and time to reroute a well-traveled trail through a dense forest.

The value of not changing

The other reason why we can’t change something is because it serves us something. We’ve been used to it like a comfortable blanket that gives our life a sense of stability and security. As long as we don’t acknowledge the benefits of it, we can’t change it. The status quo is a representation of our everyday lives, complete with routines, relationships, and habits. We are comfortable with it, so even though it’s not ideal, that familiarity brings us comfort.

Entering the unknown entails entering a state of transformation. It is similar to leaving behind a comfortable blanket in favor of something unknown and possibly difficult.

Also, even when it conflicts with our long-term objectives or preferences, the status quo frequently provides instant advantages or rewards. What is the value or benefit for not changing? Is a question we need to ask ourselves if we find changing something difficult

Fear of the unknown 

The fear of the unknown is so powerful that it can convince us to stay in the misery of our current situation rather than change. A change is misidentified as losing control over the known. Known is comforting; whereas the unknown can be out of control. As our brains are programmed to seek security and consistency, we naturally resist change. Being out of control, limitations, definitions and structures is what creates a new reality – be it with relationships, body, finances or health. The false sense of control can only be broken with unconditional trust in self. With trust, comes ease and that in turn creates change. 

What would it take me to trust myself unconditionally? 

Sonali Mittra is a certified therapist, a transformation coach, Founder of Treta Foundation. Suvanjali Lama is a research associate, Treta Foundation, India.

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