Why Are Habits Hard to Change?
Research published in the Annuals in the New York Academy of Science revealed that how we think about our future self greatly influences how we behave in the future. The less connected we feel to who will be in the future, or our needs in the future, the more likely we are to make choices that only benefit our present self.
It’s as if we look at a massive doughnut and think to ourselves, “increased risk of diabetes and heart disease for my future self? Who cares about that schmuck? My present self wants a treat!”
As much as we’d like to pretend we are infinitely powerful, we do not have infinite willpower at our disposal, and that makes it hard to make big changes. Our limited power has a bigger effect on our choices than we might think, according to a study by Roy Naumeister in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
We actually run out of willpower easily. Sticking things out is hard, and when you’re presented with decisions that require self-control over and over again, your brain gets tired of doing the “right” or “hard” thing and goes back to what is “comfortable” and “familiar”.
Repeated habits strengthen the parts of your brain they use, and it’s sometimes difficult to recall when we first started behaving a certain was as it’s been so long we’ve been “doing” or “being” that behavior. Regardless the habits have been formed.
One of the reasons I love incorporating NL, MER®, and Hypnotherapy into my coaching practice is due to the proven effectiveness of its techniques that support an individual’s process in changing their limiting beliefs and unhealthy habits.
One client reported that she could not believe the swift effectiveness of our session together. After our session she shared she had been in traditional therapy off and on over the years, and had never come close to reaching the core of her limiting beliefs like she did in our session. Moreover, she reported feeling freer and safer than she had ever felt. She admitted she felt bewildered by it all because it just didn’t make sense, and yet she was so willing to welcome the change.
Checking in with her several times over a period of time to track her progress, she had shared continued expansion and growth that she once only believed to be unimaginable. Because of her feeling of freedom and security, she was now stretching herself even further to do, try, and learn new things.
To be clear, I didn’t do anything……
Because of my willingness to listen and her willingness to talk she was able to lead us down a path. Through asking specific questions along the journey, SHE was able to excavate the ROOT cause of what was holding her back as well as what was causing the sense of insecurity. The techniques (mentioned above) used allowed her to extract the ROOT cause and embark on a journey of healthy living.
Reaching beyond willpower quite often requires asking for help and a willingness to invest in your own well-being through releasing limiting unhealthy beliefs.
Clients, once they’ve gone through these proven methods, have repeatedly said, “why did I wait so long to do this?” To which I smile and ask, “Why do you think you waited so long?” Again the repeated response is “because I was afraid”.
Fear is the biggest reason habits are hard to change.
Are you ready to change your habits?