Power in Habit
Any lasting change in circumstance is derived from a consistent and enduring change of thought and behavior. There is no quick fix. There is no easy way to attain any goal. Aspirations are realized by persistent effort to begin new habits or change old ones. Goals are essential to initiate and measure progress, but goals themselves are only attained by means of successful habits. It is incredibly difficult to cultivate beneficial long-term habits, but the reliability of a proven equation is reassuring. There are inclines and declines along any path, but constructive habits are rewarded both in the satisfaction of their implementation and the results they provide. Efforts to develop productive habits are also challenged by a culture where instant gratification is expected. Despite the obstacles, welcoming the challenges of altering cognitive and behavioral patterns translates to many facets of life.
Changing behavioral framework is not an instantaneous action, but rather a long and arduous battle. Unfortunately, as a byproduct of cultural influence, we are negatively impacted by an expectation of immediate results. Physical exercise is a notable example. Anywhere we turn, it is 30 days this, 10 minutes that, and a number of other methods that will not work. A study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that less than 20% of individuals attempting to lose weight maintained their initial weight loss for longer than one year. That means that 80% of the sample was unsuccessful at losing weight. The only successful way to lose weight sustainably is to change your lifestyle. Not for 10 minutes, not for 30 days, but for the foreseeable future. Commitments of this nature are difficult, but they promote supportive decisions and long-term success.
The beginning is always the most demanding part of modifying any behavior. The difficulty comes from maintaining the new behavior until it becomes habit. According to an article in the British Journal of General Practice, it takes approximately 66 days to form a new habit. These 66 days will be grueling, at times. There is no easy way around it, goals require persistence and hard work. I wanted to change my body, I had to change my behavior. Though initially it felt nearly impossible, the changes I made are now an integral part of my daily routine. The discomfort of pushing against any resistance is an inherent part of human existence. Exercise is an excellent example because the resistance is concrete, but new habits are applicable to any ambition or endeavor. There is no quick solution. Embrace the challenge and focus on changing behavioral patterns to achieve your goals.