Why do you fear change?
"One today is worth two tomorrows." - Benjamin Franklin
As a new week presents itself with seven new days to make things memorable, to do something for the first time, approach habits differently or to change your situation for the good, I asked myself the one question we all dread asking: "Why do I fear change?"
The thought of making a lifestyle change can be so intimidating that even though you want to be the master of your own destiny, you'll end up doing nothing or settling for less than you deserve simply because you are too afraid of the change. You let fear stop you from living your life to its full potential. You will forever live with the haunting question of "What might I have achieved if I hadn't let fear get in my way?"
I admit that I do fear change. As I drive home after a practice session, I ask myself why my daily routine doesn't give me the results I want. I realize that my daily routine haven't changed one bit since I turned professional a year ago. In fact, I started to become demotivated at the lack of results. I looked to the outside for answers, whilst the answer is actually within. I was doing the things I did as an amateur, chasing the goal of turning professional. Once I turned professional, I never changed my daily routines to accommodate a new set of goals. I realized that I fear the unknown. I know my strength and cardiovascular fitness need to improve; my practice routines need to be smarter daily to make way for more regular tournament rounds and not become fatigued; I have to identify flaws in my swing and do the required drills to correct them for a more consistent outcome. I have to change my daily habits and routines to prepare for the next level. Yet I fear the change that is necessary for the desired outcome. "But why is change really that hard," I asked myself.
Neuroscience gives us an insight into the power of habit in our lives - and why we can become victims of our own habitual behavior. The more we do something the stronger the neural circuit becomes that supports that habit. The more you do something, the more likely you are to do it in the future. Our habit-driven brain doesn't distinguish between good and problematic behavior; it just builds repetitive behavior.
We have a choice, we can mindlessly play out problematic behavior or we can step back and reflect on our actions. As humans, we are creatures of habit, but we are also creatures of change and adaptation. Our adaptability is the secret to our success. Changing our behavior is a self-engineering challenge with few equals. The challenge we face is to harness our adaptability and use it towards positive ends, making choices about who we want to be.
I have identified a few reasons why I believe sustained change is tremendously hard:
1. We are motivated by negative emotions;
2. We are trapped by thinking fallacies:
3. We are comfortable and afraid of the unknown;
4. We try to eat the entire elephant. Big and vague needs to give way to small and focused;
5. We neglect the toolbox:
6. We underestimate the process;
7. We are afraid of failure;
8. We don't make the commitment.
I leave you with the thought that changed my perspective on change.
"Do it because you want to, not just because you have to. When you do what you want, you create an unstoppable power."