When I immigrated 9000 km to another part of the world, my father told me that nothing would really change in my life.
How could that be true? I would be living in a different country, I would need to learn a new language, traditions and culture so how could it be possible that nothing would change?
My father was not referring to the excitement and changes of living in another country. He was advising me that how I lived my life, the choices I made and the natural rhythm of my day-to-day comings and goings would not change.
My father was right. Nothing changed.
Every weekday I woke up, had breakfast, went to gym and to work, came home, had dinner and spent time with my husband, watched tv, read a book and went to bed.
Whether it’s weight gain, weight loss, showing up differently at work, going to bed earlier, becoming more confident, managing emotions, becoming less defensive, exercising……. What constitutes your rhythm and what stands in your way of changing?
Our brains are built for speed, so many of our decisions and choices are based on our past experiences and the (positive) outcomes that we have had. If there’s a quick decision to be made we often choose the path of least resistance to get things done, and quickly.
Change feels uncomfortable. It slows us down and takes us through stages of ‘unconscious incompetence’ or what I refer to as, ‘ignorance is bliss’. It is blissful not knowing that you need to change but, once you know what needs to change, there’s no ignoring it and no going back.
The next stage we reach is ‘conscious incompetence’ i.e. having to make a conscious effort to make any changes. This is where many people give up, as their natural rhythm of life and ‘bad’ habits get in their way of change. You may start asking yourself ‘Why do I need to change? It can’t be all bad as I’ve gotten to where I am today, doing what I’ve always done!’
When we reach the stage of ‘conscious competence’, we’re starting to make good headway. We are slowing down, reflecting and making new choices without feeling that we are compromising.
Through self-awareness, being aware of what needs to be unlearned and constantly and consistently choosing the new path, we finally reach the stage of ‘unconscious competence’. At this stage our brain is rewiring itself and creating new neural pathways so that our new choices can be supported and we can once again act as speedily as before.
To encourage change, you may need to consider your current rhythm and how you mentally reward yourself e.g. if you say yes to many activities at work, yet feel overwhelmed and overworked, you may ask yourself how you benefit from saying yes? Old habits’ may ‘die hard’ but when we start listening to what’s really good for us we can change to ensure that ‘old dogs learn new tricks’.