> Spirituality > Personal Growth

Six Common Mistakes about Change

April 22, 2015 | by Debbie Gutfreund

How to succeed in changing a habit.

Change is a challenging process even when we are tackling the most routine of habits. Often we want to grow, but we find ourselves stuck when we try to begin. The biggest obstacles to change stem from our distorted ideas about the process itself. Here are six common mistakes we often make about change.

1. We think we automatically learn from experience. Experience can be a great teacher, but we don’t learn from it without careful evaluation of what exactly we learned. Lessons from the past help us only when we remember them and are aware of them in our daily lives.

2. We leave God out of the process. We often try to grow on our own, relying on the sheer strength of our willpower. This can only take us so far before we realize that we need God’s help and guidance. Our faith in God gives us much needed hope and makes the impossible possible.

3. We expect life to be ‘fair’ and comfortable. It’s difficult to grow when we are looking over our shoulders wondering why everyone else’s life looks easier. Life isn’t necessarily ‘fair’ and sometimes our lives really are harder than others. But growth isn’t comfortable or fair. When we put aside our ideas of what is unfair and decide to push through the discomfort, we are ready to change.

4. We expect ideas and inspiration to change us, without taking concrete action. Every now and then we learn a great idea or see a motivating quote. We are inspired and moved to change. But if the idea isn’t translated into action it will be soon forgotten.

5. We don’t start as soon as we can. The longer we wait to take action, even the smallest step forward, the harder it will be to grow. When is the best time to begin? Right now.

6. We think change and the formulation of new habits should happen quickly. According to the 2009 study published by European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes approximately 66 days before a new behavior becomes automatic. And the duration of change depends on the habit, the person and the circumstances, sometimes taking up to 254 days for people to form new habits.

So changing one habit requires a tremendous amount of patience and perseverance. Fortunately, the study also found that habit formation is not an “all or nothing” process; missing one opportunity or messing up every now and then didn’t significantly impact a person’s ability to ultimately succeed. And the more positive changes that we can transform into habits, the easier and more rewarding daily life becomes.

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