Change can be hard. It’s usually hard when we are trying to push ourselves and force ourselves to fit a mold or improve ourselves in a certain way that (1) we’re not ready for or (2) we’re doing for the wrong reasons or (3) we just don’t have the drive for.
It really all seems to come down to hunger.
This is not about physiological hunger. It’s mental hunger. Why is it that a person can sometimes take the steps to change (quit smoking, eat better, exercise more, etc), and other times the same person is just stuck in a cycle of insanity (repeating the same thing over and over expecting–but not getting–different results)?
If you were to examine the mental processes of the two scenarios, there would be a couple things you would notice.
1. Sometimes change comes from a credible threat (health scare, upcoming wedding, etc). These changes can be permanent if the person catches the wave of hunger from the existence of the threat. However, we can all think of a person who had one of these threats, experienced great “success” and then slowly or quickly let it all go and ended back at square one.
2. Sometimes change comes from having hunger. Hunger for something does not come from the method of changing, but from the desire and determination and value….and well, hunger for changing.
This is another topic Petra and I discussed on our recent walk, and she used the word hunger for this phenomenon—I’ve been trying to explain it to people for years by using terms like motivation, determination, desire….they are all included in hunger, but hunger explains the entire concept. How do you get a hunger for change?
I don’t know.
Everyone is different–being aware is always step one. You have to know there’s something to change. For the guy who recently asked me if smoking was healthy for him because he doesn’t have any trouble breathing or going up stairs….well, he is not yet eligible for hunger to quit smoking because he doesn’t even know it’s not a good thing for him to smoke!
For most people, we’re stuck somewhere on the continuum where we know we want to change and what we want to change, but we’ve experienced limited success or we’ve lost the success we reached.
How do we get hungry for change?
We get emotional. I don’t mean that we cry about it, although that can sometimes happen and that’s fine too. We read and learn about changing. We immerse ourselves in the change. We stop being embarrassed about it and tell people that we are working on a certain thing regarding our lifestyle…and we don’t apologize for it.
We have a plan. We look at it in a positive way, and when things feel negative, we let ourselves feel badly for a bit and then we re-group.
We make a list for why we want to change, a list of the pros and cons of changing and the pros and cons of not changing.
We get a wellness coach. We search through our emotional issues and we work on them—face them instead of push them down.
The real point here is that everyone has a different journey toward developing a hunger for change. There’s really no magic key or secret. You are your own research project, and you need to feel your feelings and get in touch with your own life and values. This research project I’m talking about? It’s longitudinal, not a cross-sectional approach. You will be working on the work of art you call your “self” for your entire life.
What gives you a hunger for change?