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Why Most People Give Up

There is a famous saying that I first heard many years ago from Zig Ziglar “A rut is nothing but a grave with the ends kicked out.” He is not the only one who has said this, nor could I find if the quote was credited to him, but no matter the lesson is very valuable.

We are all destined for the grave someday so we should not be so entrenched in our poor habits, that we arrive early.

Every year around the end of December and the beginning of the new year we take stock of our lives, make assessments and then begin to implement a list of changes that we perceive to be beneficial to our future.

Reasons, Reasons, Reasons…

There are a host of reasons of why most people give up, but the main reason is because they don’t have enough passion for the change that they’d like to implement.

It doesn’t mean that they didn’t start out with enough passion or that they really do not want the change, but change is very, very, very difficult. Our habits become a part of us, but we also become a part of our habits. What does this mean? It means that any change that we want to make is not only a mental decision, but it also is linked to our physical bodies, and even the systems that operate around us. These systems (including our body) are looking to create stability in our existence. Because of this, no matter what direction we try to move in, there is a natural inclination or pressure to revert to the status quo.

For example, a loved one wants you to lose a few pounds and regularly even participates in encouraging you in your struggle…but then does not understand why you do not want to eat that sweet treat they are handing you.

Creating Good Habits Is Diligent Work

Creating good habits is hard and necessarily needs to be focused on until it is second nature. The earlier that you can create a good habit the more ingrained it becomes. Back to weight loss which for many is the big one that is addressed every year.

What happens when we decide to lose weight? First, we generally make the decision to lose weight because we’re feeling uncomfortable at the time. The holidays and all the overeating we do during this period and are a prime example of when this discomfort happens. Once we over eat, we feel bad and we decide we’re going to implement some type of change. The decision to change at this moment of overeating is often a temporary state. We tell ourselves we’ll just wait till the next morning, then we’ll feel a lot better because that food has been digested and isn’t causing any discomfort anymore. It soon becomes hard to continue with the goal of losing weight that was made in the moment of decision.

Motivation Gets You Going… Good Habits Keep You Going

Let’s say you have made it past the first few days or weeks and have continued to implement the change you have become passion about. The first 21 days of the implementation of a change is the most crucial, and generally days number 17, 18, 19, 20, and 21 are the hardest. Planning how to overcome the weak moments you will inevitability encounter is crucial. If no plan is in place, then you will have most likely given up long before you reached day 17. Even if you get past the 21 days, you’re still at risk of giving up, as it generally takes about 65 to 80 days for a good habit to entrench itself into your life. Without a plan and continued focus on your plan, you will most likely face a big disappointment.

Making Change A Process

For you to have a achieve a sustained change, you must make the decision to change;

  1. Become passionate about your change

  2. Come up with a plan to push through the weak moments

  3. Refocus on why the change is beneficial and a worthy outcome

Each of these steps accomplished is very, very, very difficult. Begin to make your new habit stick by getting through the first 21 days. If you try to survive on your will power alone and not on a process, this bench mark will be unachievable, and yet you still are not finished.

Change Your Environment

The next problem is that the social systems around us are also interfering with our behavior.

I know of a couple of people who were grossly addicted to alcohol and got totally free of the addiction for more than 20 years. Both stated that the number one decision that was required of them to quit drinking was that they had to move away from their drinking friends to sustainably quit. Even though their friends would want them to quit drinking, they wouldn’t be a helpful after a few days because they themselves would be displaying the exact behavior that they are trying to remove from their minds. So, the social systems we have around us can greatly interfere with our goals.

My own personal journey to reach my fitness goal has really been interesting. One of the most prominent people in my life who seeks for me to get in better shape is often the same person who tries to randomly hand me a cookie or a sweet treat. This always surprises me because he knows that I am actively working on losing weight and cutting out sweets.

Pattern Success

The world around you is behaving in a way that caters to its own goals and desires, not your own.

How do you fix this? The best ways to fix it is to change your environment. Find people that are in the condition that you want to be in and place yourself around them. You can sustainably use them as leverage points to improve you progress towards your goal. Finding a workout buddy, finding someone with a healthy diet, find a mentor, find an accountability partner, join a group that is heading in the same direction that you want to go. A person or people who can encourage you.

Weight Loss… Seems to Be Everyone’s Favorite New Year’s Goal

One of the biggest reasons for failure in the weight loss category, especially once we get a little older, we become comfortable with the shape of our bodies. Our body itself seeks to maintain its current shape. As weight loss begins, no matter what diet you choose, you can achieve quite a bit of success in the beginning. Unfortunately, over a prolonged period, that success diminishes. Often, your body begins to bring you back to the weight you started from. This is your baseline weight that you level out at, and in many cases, your body acts like a rubber band you are stretching in one direction. You can only stretch so far. I’ve spoken to dietitians that say when someone loses a substantial amount of weight they can hit a wall. A wall where their body will reduce to but not beyond. At that point they even need to gain a few pounds back to reset their ability to lose more weight. This is where maintenance beyond the 90-day achievement is necessary.

Weight loss is just one of the many changes that people seek. A few other changes that come to mind are:

  • personal finance

  • business growth

  • improve relationship with friends and family

  • making new friends

  • living a more fulfilled life

  • getting rid of a poor habit

Making Change A Process

To Cement Your Improved Change Follow through with these final steps:

4. Continue through 90-day point to achieve the next level of competence.

5. We must inspect and correct the social aspect around us including our friends and family members who really do want your best interest but at the same time may not show it. Some may be good at helping you choose to change as they have a social desire to make you comfortable or make you close to them. However, sometimes their support for you is short lived because they’re afraid that your change will affect them. Remember, change is hard and that’s why most people avoid it like a plague. Even though we all know change paves the way to success and happiness.

6. For a change to stick, there must be a plan in place. This requires a consistent referencing and readdressing to that plan and knowl-edge and understanding that that plan must go beyond 90 days.

3 Simple Test Changes

  1. Change the way you put your pants on. Start with your left leg instead of starting with your right leg or vice versa.

  2. Brush your teeth with the opposite hand.

  3. Another test is to change the way you comb or part your hair.

You’ll find that it’s very difficult to even make the smallest of changes.

Never, Never, Never, Give Up!

There is a famous commencement speech that Winston Churchill gave some years ago. He slowly went to the lectern and wait for along moment… and then uttered these five words “Never, Never, Never, Give Up!” He then walked away as that was his entire speech.

To conclude I would seek to encourage you to follow Churchill’s credo. Even when you are in the throes of what you may perceive as failure…persist again. As the sun rises on a new day reset, regroup, re-motivate, and achieve again. Refuse to live in a grave with the ends kicked out.

- Joshua Dudgeon

120 Sunset Ridge Ave. Ste. 116
Gays Mills, WI 54631

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