‘self-discipline’

Why Is It So Hard To Change?

I am always on the lookout for ways to facilitate change, and wondering-Why is change so difficult? Why can we not become the person that we want to be? The statistics are mind-boggling. Only one in seven heart patients are able to successfully change their behavior when told by their physician that if they don’t they will die, only 8% of New Years resolutions are achieved for the long run, only 5% of people who loose weight on a crash diet keep the weight off, and the majority of dieters gain back more weight then the amount that they lost. How many of us can identify with hard won weight loss going up in a cloud of chocolate ice cream! It’s apparent that the answer is not lack of motivation or inadequate rewards. People struggle with change even when not changing is life threatening.

Did you know that most baby boomers stop taking medication prescribed to maintain their health after a few months? The medication has no side effects, lack of motivation, will power and/or discipline did not explain why.  Research using the Immunity to Change method revealed that the reasons are “hidden commitments” such as not wanting to feel old, or not wanting to fee like you need a crutch.

The Immunity To Change method is the breakthrough approach to personal improvement developed by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lehay of Harvard University. The “immunity to change,” which impedes personal and organizational transformation is a hidden dynamic that is uncovered through this method. Once people see their “immune system,” they understand why prior efforts have failed to create sustainable change and totally new ways to move forward appear. 

 The ITC process changes not what you know, but how you know. It changes the basic ways in which you make sense of your world and yourself. It engages you in truly developmental learning that enables you to make changes that you want to make by uncovering and examining your hidden commitments. You discover why you are keeping one foot on the brake while you also have a foot on the gas, and enables you to ease up on that brake.   
You become free to make changes, changes you want, changes that endure. 

Did You Brush Your Teeth Today Part III

 How come you brush your teeth everyday without struggle, without using any energy thinking about it, without becoming distracted from the task? The reason is that brushing your teeth is a well established ritual. No effort, no thought, you just do it. You were not born with a brushing your teeth as ritual gene. You developed it as a ritual. Given the benefit derived from brushing your teeth over your lifetime, the effort and time that it took to establish it as a ritual is minimal.

If you would like to make changes, make a resolution and keep it, change your focus to creating a ritual, and forget using self-discipline. It does not start off with no effort, but if you focus on creating a ritual for a relatively short amount of time, it quickly becomes effortless and you’ve got a new ritual that is moving you towards your goal.

Building rituals requires defining precise behavior and performing that behavior at a specific time. It also helps to be clear on your motivation for the behavior. Most of us don’t brush our teeth when we think of it. Some people do it as soon as they get out of bed, others after breakfast, but whenever it is, the time is the same every day, and you are doing the same thing every time. Your Mom, or whoever got you doing it, was highly motivated by wanting you to be healthy ( and saving on those dental bills).

This applies to any change that you want to introduce into your life, and can be done at any time of the year. It works, although, it works best if you limit yourself to one or two at a time. So do it now, think of one or two rituals that you would like to introduce into your life and commit to a regular time to practice them. Do it today, and soon it will be as easy as brushing your teeth.


Did You Brush Your Teeth Today? Part II

Do you brush your teeth every day? How is it going for you? Do you have to think about it and give yourself a pep talk to get yourself into the bathroom to brush?

While you are pondering these questions, here are a couple more. Did you make any resolutions about a year ago? If so, how many of them have you kept? If you are like many of us you have made and repeatedly broke resolutions. This erodes your confidence. It’s not keeping your word to yourself and that makes you feel bad about yourself.

You might be wondering what all these questions have in common. The short answer is that self-discipline does not work, change is hard and it is possible, but self-discipline is not the route. Studies have shown that we are all born with a finite amount of self-discipline that does not change over the course of our lives, so there is little you can do to get more.

 Check you our nest blog post to find our what you can do!


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“Ettie is an excellent and inspiring coach! I was so pleased to have such positive outcomes as a result of our meetings. Ettie has a superb ability to listen and offer clear guidance. I highly recommend Ettie to anyone looking for some inspiration and clear techniques to create their own success!”

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