Most of us know when things need to change. We know what we need to do to change a situation in our life but lack the power to do so. We try to convince ourselves why we should not or cannot make the change.
When I first found out that I needed to watch my cholesterol, no one needed to tell me the reason why it was that high. With all the chocolates, cake and ice-cream I was eating, what did I expect? Anything different? As much as I wished subsequent readings would be different, there was no way that could happen, if I didn’t do anything about my diet.
Anyone who has ever tried to change an unwanted behaviour knows it is not easy.
Most often, obstacles to change are both psychological and physiological in nature. When you get used to something, when it’s always been there and you count on it always being there, it’s often very uncomfortable when it changes. I’ve always had a sweet tooth. In my book, I talk about how it all started.
So you see, for me to change my diet is taking me out of the familiar to unfamiliar territory. I wanted to have my cake and eat it too!
Most of us are deeply rooted in the ‘way things are’. We know that changing our lives for the better may come with a price and that price could be change of routine, more responsibility and less comfort. And who wants that? But things cannot remain the same, if we want to see change of any kind.
I have come to see that in reality fear of change is one of the most common reasons for resistance to change because it stops you taking any action at all. The risk of losing some of your comfort in life plays a prominent role in adapting to change.
We all have what we think are reasons to fear change. It’s annoying, overwhelming, frustrating, unnecessary, time-consuming, and so on. Although I still have my cake and ice-cream, I have had to cut down significantly and to be truthful, sometimes I find it annoying that I can’t eat whatever I want to. But my health is important so what can a girl do than follow the doctors instructions?
Throughout life, one factor we can undoubtedly count on is change. Some changes are negative (like divorce, death, sickness) and some are good (e.g. marriage, birth of a child, education).
But for as many euphemisms as there are about change being a part of life, most of us often struggle with the reality of change itself. Change can be scary. Doing things for the first time or stepping into the unknown can be pretty frightening.
Try talking your 75 year-old grandmother into cutting down on fried foods. Or try teaching someone who insists on not having anything to do with technology the benefits of being computer savvy.
As much as I try to stay abreast of technology, I must admit that sometimes it changes too fast for my liking. I barely got used to the iPod, and now it’s iPad, and then I have to learn as quickly as I can, if I want to be more productive and efficient.
Change is not always an easy thing to do, believe me, a lot of people struggle with it. But the effort to focus only on what you have to gain, and expel all thoughts of what you might lose helps to adjust.
Maybe something is not working properly or perhaps there is a better way of doing things than you are doing it right now. Try to imagine all the good things that might happen as a result of change.
Maybe you’ve been telling yourself that now isn’t the right time to make a change, because of situation X, Y, or Z or maybe you are waiting for all conditions to be ‘right’. What are some of the things you wish you didn’t do? What are some of the things you want to do?
George Bernard Shaw once said: "……those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." If there is any truly effective preparation for change, it begins with the mind.
I can’t force you to change. All I can tell you is what I have learnt. After that it’s your decision to make. Is there something going on in your life that you wish could be different?
You can’t do the same things over and over and expect a different outcome right? Maybe there are changes to your food choices you haven’t been ready to make, but you want a different outcome.
Afraid to go back to school or to change careers? Go on, make the change needed. It is never too late.
I will follow my own advice too.
By Barbara Sai Djangmah/The Mirror/Ghana
The writer is a Lifestyle Coach & Author of ‘The Seduction of Food’