When is the last time you promised yourself to make some changes, either break or make a new habit? And how long did your changes last? Then you know how difficult it is to make changes stick.

Changing habits can be one of the hardest things to do. Once we decide to lose weight, quit smoking, get fit, or do anything differently, it takes a lot of effort and persistence before we can claim success. Anyone who tells you it only takes 30 days to acquire a new habit doesn’t know human nature.

Most people who’ve been successful at making major lifestyle changes report that it rarely comes as steadily upward progress. Instead, it’s often two steps forward and one back, with intermittent relapses, surges of resolve, and a lot of learning along the way.

One has only to look at the obesity problem in the US and other affluent countries to see how hard it is to make behavioral changes that stick. Despite growing evidence that being overweight contributes to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and premature aging, people struggle to lose weight, start exercising, and eat healthy. The obesity rates aren’t getting better, they’re getting worse.

And yet we know more about how to make or break habits than ever before. Behavioral scientists have conducted extensive research into how people make lasting changes. Why aren’t more people successful?

Knowing Isn’t Enough

“If you want to make a change you need to know why you’re making the change―but for that change to really last you need more than knowledge. When it comes to change, our minds don’t work rationally.” ~ The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer, Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn and Dr. Elissa Epel, Grand Central Publishing, 2017

What have been your experiences making changes stick? I’m exploring this topic in my next two blog posts, stay tuned. I’d love to hear from you. You can call me at 561-582-6060, let’s talk. And as always, I can be reached here or on LinkedIn.

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