Real change is hard to achieve and sustain. As a consultant and coach, I regularly hear people beating up on themselves for falling short when it comes to achieving long-term sustainable positive change. I think we’ve all done this at different times! Because most of us know first-hand that real change is hard.
The good news is we’re all capable of change and making it last – when we get out of our own way and ask for help.
That’s when our mindset, habits and beliefs can genuinely shift. It’s actually misguided, faulty thinking to believe we can change long-term engrained beliefs and habits on our own in isolation.
Taking the step to ask for help is always a turning point and game changer when it comes to personal transformation.
Just being aware that lapsing back into old, unproductive habits is part of being human and how our brains are wired is powerful in itself. A huge percentage of our daily actions and thoughts are driven by the unconscious automatic parts of our brain that regularly override the new thoughts, beliefs and habits we’re trying to instil. It takes time and sustained effort to become aware of what’s driving us on a more subconscious level and then change it.
One of the most well-known executive coaches in the world Marshall Goldsmith has found that it takes around 18 months for real change to occur in adults (and we’re talking about high-performing business people here) because whenever we decide to change, life has a way of intervening. Change is never a clear, uninterrupted and linear process. There are always disruptions along the way so you need to be adaptable, flexible and committed to the process.
I’ve also found that clients willing to commit to 12 months and beyond achieve far more lasting change than those who expect a silver bullet 6 week approach to change beliefs and behaviours they’ve spent the last 30+ years wiring into their brains and nervous systems on a daily basis.
Real change takes time. We often lose sight of this fact because there’s so much hype on the internet around passion and purpose and quick fix promises to success and happiness. There’s not nearly enough reality-check information around how to sustain your energy, focus and commitment when you’re feeling tired, depleted and out-of-love with your purpose and new goals. Because that’s the kind of terrain that real change involves.
So be kind and patient with yourself and ask for the support you need. Set yourself up for success. Don’t try and do it all on your own.