Why Is Changing a Habit So Hard?

Why Is Changing a Habit So Hard?

WHY IS CHANGE SO HARD- over a photo of a man carrying a guitar

Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” T.S. Eliot

I was pleasantly surprised at the number of calls I received in the last week inquiring about OBSESSION:  100 Day Boot Camp to Optimal Performance.

Many of the callers asked me to describe the degree of difficulty required to complete the program. I can best answer this by sharing with you some of my own personal experiences.

Over thirty years, I have worked with hundreds of clients in a coaching relationship. Without exception, one of most rewarding aspects of this work is seeing how hard clients work to conquer challenging goals.

Why is it then that so many people slowly revert back to past behaviours and habits?

Like you, I am familiar with all the clichés that marketers sling at us as they try to entice us into buying their products, programs and methods.

We are all acquainted with slogans like “21 Days to a New You,” “Be Amazed in 30 days,” “A New Body in Just 7 Days,” and all the others that promise amazing change in short time.

Experience has taught me that this just isn’t so. While, indeed, it is possible to see results in a short period, the development of new and lasting habits takes a lot longer as it requires not only consistency with new behaviours, it also demands a strong commitment to changing mindset.

Rather than share with you my experiences in their entirety, I would like to tell you about the first 10 days and the last 10.

Why Is Changing a Habit So Hard?

I know OBSESSION works, because I’ve put myself through the boot camp. I also know change is hard.

As I do with all my clients, I spent the few days leading up to Day 1 immersed in the planning process. I closely followed every step in my proprietary goalsetting tool, listed in detailed narrative precisely what I intended to accomplish over the hundred days, and itemized in minute detail precisely how I was going to do so.

I read, reread and then read again everything I’ve written down and by the evening preceding the first day I was not only ready, I was pumped.

One of my objectives involved a serious upgrade of my personal fitness and required me to wake up one hour earlier every morning.

I went to bed feeling powerful and determined to honour that commitment. In fact, I felt excited at the prospect of beginning day one by waking up earlier than usual.

The morning of Day 1 did not begin well. My alarm clock exploded in my head and that evil person who resides within most of us immediately went to work to convince me this was all a mistake and I should simply go back to sleep.

You know how doggedly convincing that guy is. I almost succumbed to his charm before some other voice inside my head forced me, reluctantly, to get up and spend time running on my rebounder.

Somehow, I made it through that day accomplishing everything I had planned and as I reviewed my progress that first evening I did feel a slight sense of victory. It was accompanied, though, by a question mark as to whether I would survive the next 99 days.

The next nine days didn’t get much easier. The cumulative effect of less sleep was taking its toll and I was challenged to meet the requirements stipulated for each day. I found myself wasting valuable time thinking of a legitimate reason to quit this stupid program. I asked myself, as you will, why is change so hard?

Thankfully, creativity failed me, and I forced myself to persevere.

By day 90, my life had changed in ways too many to mention. I had accomplished things I had only dreamed of for years. Each day seemed more and more filled with victory and accomplishment.

I began each day charged with energy and excitement. Those very tasks which had exhausted and frustrated me in the early days now seemed routine. In fact, I had significantly increased my output and still felt capable of even more.

More than 100 Days

As I looked closer to the hundredth day I no longer thought of it as being the day I could go back to my old ways. Instead it simply became a milestone to surpass and continue.

Today, some three years later, my life is vastly different. Waking up early is now routine as is measuring my progress, evaluating my results and celebrating my victories.

My own 100-day Boot Camp is now well past its 1,000th day and it will only end when I do.

Today when I invite others to join this program, I do so with full conviction that their lives will change for the better in as many ways as did mine, perhaps more.

I love working with people on this program. Even though at times I may seem like a mean taskmaster, I play that role with the certainty of knowing that each person who successfully completes their 100 days will forever be grateful for the times I cut them no slack and refused to allow them to quit.

You know this is true. If you begin the path toward the life you want, you already know how valuable it would be to have a taskmaster/ cheerleader to ensure you do not quit.

It was my wife Gimalle who cut me no slack, and pushed me to learn that my breaking point was only a figment of my own flawed belief system. As much as I was tempted to call a divorce lawyer in early days, I am forever grateful for her “meanness” in pushing me to stay on track.

The greatest investment we can ever make is in ourselves.

If you seriously aspire to discover a new you and want to be part of our next cohort, please call (403) 802 3477, email tellmemore@strategicpathways.net or visit our website at strategicpathways.net/obsession.

Just how far would you like to go?

Till we read again.

Photo of Rael Kalley,Habits coach in calgary canada

About the author

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