Sometimes we struggle after having decided to make a change in our life, and oftentimes we give up without really knowing that we have given up until we realise that we are back into our old patterns of behaviour. Additionally, when we're trying to make a change in our life, or perhaps to achieve a goal, we become frustrated that things aren't happening fast enough.
Research is overwhelming, and I don't think we needed research to confirm this, life is getting faster and faster. Life is also getting more complicated for some and as a result of that, more frustrating if you are unable to keep up with these advances.
The result, we seem to be angrier and sadder than we have ever been in our lives because of frustration. Or are we?
Those who have been around for a while, baby boomers or older, will know that we aren't actually angrier than we've ever been before. We have always been angry. It's just that these days we are unafraid of verbalising our frustrations whereas previously we tended to keep it to ourselves.
Because the rest of our life is moving faster and faster through technological advances, we expect the same fast result when it comes to our personal endeavours.
Advances in technology, in particular those that have been made in the field of medicine, is fantastic. Science is now able to tell us a lot more about how our brains process information, how we can influence our behaviour though our thoughts, and how we can make improvements in our lives.
For example, we know that it takes longer than 21 days to change a habit. It is actually 60 to 80 days depending on how ingrained the habit is that you want to change. We also know that when it comes to achieving goals, we shouldn't write down more than five. One is more than enough to make a real impact on our life.
Here's a quick guide on changing habits and setting goals, both of which go together. If you want to achieve a goal you have to change something that you are currently doing. Most often, you are needing to change a lifetime habit;
- Identify the one thing you want to change that will make the biggest impact on your life.
- Look at all of the factors that are currently contributing to that area of your life you want to change.
- Now choose just two of those factors that will give you the fastest improvement with the least amount of effort. Choosing more than two and you will soon find yourself being overwhelmed and giving up.
- Identify the way in which you can introduce those two factors into your life with the greatest of ease and without causing frustration.
- Mark the date that you start on a calendar, then count out 80 days and place another mark. That is the day that you no longer have to concentrate on introducing the two factors, they will be ingrained into your brain.
You can then repeat the process for the next change in your life. And then again, and then again, and then again. By taking smaller steps we can achieve larger goals, it is about embedding patterns of behaviour.
If you find yourself falling back into old habits, don't beat yourself up about it, know that that is just part of the process. 50% of who we are is hereditary, it comes from our parents, it's in our DNA if you like. The other 50% is you and what you have done in your life. Therefore, you are able to change at least half of your behaviour because it's yours, it's you.
There is no quick fix when it comes to breaking habits or making changes in our life. The sooner that we realise this, the easier it is to accept which reduces the frustration that often comes with trying to change a habit or achieve a goal. Don't get frustrated, get determined, you got this.