Complacency Seldom Ends Well

BORED TEENAGER SHRUGGING BY STACK OF BOOKS

If you are serious about evolving your life, pleased memorize the following and make it your daily mantra: If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you always got.*

Let’s be clear what we are referring to is habits, to be specific, YOUR habits.

One of the questions I am more often asked is how to overcome the challenge(s) when attempting to transition new behaviours into long-term sustainable ones?

For many, the early incorporation of new behaviors is accompanied by a degree of excited anticipation at the expected result and, consequently, is quite easy to sustain in the short-term.

"I've Got This"

It doesn’t take long however, before an overly optimistic, “I’ve got this”, kicks in leaving us vulnerable to the unkind consequences of over-confidence which can quickly lead to the abandonment of the new behaviours and reversion to the old ones.

Overconfidence is a BFF of complacency and both frequently serve to dash the dreams and still the desires of many who wish to rid themselves of habits that preclude them from attaining their goals.

Many clients have sadly confessed to me their feelings of disappointment when, after having put great effort into new behaviours and reaping the results they desired, have found themselves in a near uncontrollable spiral back to where they began after letting down their guard briefly because “I’ve got it.”

We become complacent when we take chances while driving because we have done the same thing a million times without incident; it is what guides us to forgo safety equipment because we are only going to be exposed for a moment; it is what discourages us from preparing an important speech because we have slid by unprepared so many times before while fooling no one other than ourselves into believing we were, in fact, prepared.

Sometimes a little success is a dangerous thing. While basking in its victory we can easily lull ourselves into believing we have now created something of permanence.

Old Habits Don't Die

As you may recall, old habits do not die hard. In fact, they do not die at all, they simply shrink in size and find hiding places in the deepest, darkest recesses of our brains where they can lie in waiting for the right moment to pounce and rightfully reclaim their control of our behaviour.

Overconfidence and complacency are their greatest allies and each time we rest on our laurels we are encouraging our old habits to seek ways of coming back.

What this tells us is that each time we wish to adopt a new habit we must work as hard on what we believe to be true of ourselves as we do on the habit itself.

You may well remember those discussions we’ve had about how our thinking must change ahead of our behaviours changing if we sincerely wish for the new behaviours to stay with us for the long term.

In the same way an alcoholic cannot have the occasional drink and an ex-smoker dare not light the occasional cigarette, those of us acquiring new habits must stoically resist the temptation to temporarily go back to the old ones regardless of how desirable, and seemingly innocent, it may seem.

Insert opening mantra here, repeat, repeat and repeat again.

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.
*Quote attributed to Albert Einstein, Henry Ford and others.

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