It is at the end of each year mostly when we reflect on our lives. What did we achieve? We had set our goals that include maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercising more, losing weight, quitting smoking, etc. When we seem to fail through the year to break these bad habits, we take time and usually set these goals on new year’s resolutions, AGAIN. The studies show, up to ninty percent of people fail to reach their goal and get rid of a unhealthy habit.
Why is so hard to break a habit?
According to psychology experts this happens because of unrealistic expectations to:
- The amount of change.
- The extent of impact the change will have in our lives.
- The speed of the process of change.
- The simplicity of behaviour change.
1. The way we expect to change quite often it’s not possible. For example the obesity is a issue for many people. Experts say losing weight only can happen gradually, as one to two pounds a week. A study was performed with many participants. Some of them lost up to 40 pounds but they were dissappointed with the outcome. Even people who lost much more than that were still unhappy with the result.
The point being is they wanted to lose much more weight than they did which is not possible.
Another example of unrealistic goal is if you pursue a goal that you will exercise for 2 hours a day, each day. On other hand you might have to work long hours, have a family to spend time with and other tasks too. In this case more likely than not you going to fail.
2. The extent of impact the goal will have in our lives. Quiting smoking wont make us beautiful or successful or change everything in our life. What it will do is make us healthier and happier.
3. Another thing with unrealistic goals is even if you make a notable change in your goals you still class it as failure and might just feel quitting in your efforts.
4. A high expectation goal is the speed we want the result to happen. We want to see the change much earlier than it’s possible. When it doesn’t, we tend to give up.
Also when we assume the goal will be easy and simple but in fact we find it much harder in reality then the chances are we going to abandon that goal.
What we can do to overcome these barriers?
- Self acceptance.
It’s crucial that we approach our goals with self love, self acceptance and self compassion. We make the rules, but we also can relax these rules, when for example, on holiday or when not feeling so well.
- Think about your future self.
It is a standart advice that living in the present moment makes us live a conscious life. But the awarness of the future self does help to stick to health commitments.
- Consider little goals as success not as failures.
No change can happen over night. If the progress is very little, just remember this, it’s still a progress so consider it as success. Maybe have a little celebration too.
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