Have you ever met someone who wanted to change their eating habits, but before doing so committed to having one day or weekend in which they allowed themselves to eat freely and enjoy their favorites before they could no longer?
I’m sure you have. Has that person ever been successful in actually changing their habits long-term? I can guarantee you that they have not.
There are actually a lot of deep psychological and even physiological reasons for why this fails, but mostly it comes down to this: that person is not yet ready to change.
It’s counterintuitive, but often when we have to pressure ourselves to change the most is when we actually want to change the least. And one of the most unfailing truths about life is that other people cannot change us, nor can we change them. We can only change ourselves, and we will only change ourselves when we genuinely feel ready to.
Maybe you drafted up a whole list of resolutions for the new year. Maybe you silently committed to one thing or another in your head. But the reason why these commitments so often fail is because the desire to change isn’t genuine, it’s influenced. If the desire to change were real, it wouldn’t start on a designated day. It would begin now.
What you were doing on December 31 probably says more about your year than what you did on January 1.
If you are not ready to start today, you are not ready to change your life. If you are not compelled to act in this moment, you are not sure about what you really want.
Most people only think that they know what they want.
What they do not realize is that they have layers and degrees of desire. There are things that they aspire to consciously and crave unconsciously. They have dreams of big things floating in their heads and attachments to staying small deep in their beings.
What they have yet to realize is forcing themselves to commit to one thing over another is a recipe for chaos. If one part of them desires success while the other is afraid they’ll become disliked and ungrounded, trying to force themselves into pursuing one of them is going to severely intensify the other feeling. It is going to create discord and disease and uncertainty and failure.
The work is not to more convincingly pressure ourselves to change, but to rectify and align what it is we really want. When we do that, the change will begin on its own. The work will feel effortless. The behaviors will adjust gradually, but with ease.
The truth is that we are exactly as we want to be, doing precisely what we want to be doing. The trick is to figure out the unconscious reasons we are attached to these realities. Once we do that, we can break the chains that bind us.
We discover that we can only change when we are ready to change, and the first step to getting there is realizing the switch won’t flip one day. Happiness doesn’t hit you at random. Your life is not on pause. You are not waiting for a new day. The joy doesn’t begin when you look better and feel motivated.
It starts now, it begins here.
And until you are ready to do that, you are not yet ready to change.