Most people experience the following mental parade in the first six weeks of beginning a lifestyle change:
- Blind excitement and enthusiasm
- The realisation of over commitment
- Awareness that this shit is super hard
- Disappointment and overpowering thoughts of quitting
Most people approach a lifestyle change with a black and white mentality. Either we do it 100% or we don’t do it at all. And we expect to get it right straight away without a struggle or without a failure. And it’s a problem that leads to a lot of folks dropping out. But I have the antidote. And it’s free.
We should think of a lifestyle change the same we think of owning any other new skill. Be it learning Spanish, or the guitar. You don’t go from a beginner to a master in 12 weeks. It’s a continuum.
You wouldn’t expect to have deeply philosophical conversations in Spanish about the global power dynamics after 12 weeks of practice. And if you just learned how to hold the guitar the right way, you don’t expect to know how to play Mastodon’s entire back catalogue 12 weeks from now.
Yet we leave all of our reasonable thinking behind with a lifestyle change, adopting a healthier diet or starting an exercise routine. Most of us expect to master these almost immediately. Or at least within 12 weeks. Without a hiccup. Which then leads to disappointment, and often, quitting.
We give up because we think it’s not for us. That we don’t have the willpower and the discipline to do it. When the fact is that, we’re just learning new skills. And whether we like it or not, it’s going to be a struggle. Like most Adam Sandler movies, it’s going to suck sometimes.
The good news is that all skills get better with practice.