It is said it takes about six weeks to break a habit, and that’s a long time to swear off French fries and commit to the gym. One woman we know says she’s lost 100 pounds – in 20-pound increments, gained right back as soon as she felt success. Even Oprah, that bastion of positive thinking, has yo-yo dieted like mad and can’t commit to her man.
So how do we mere mortals actually make good on the resolution, New Year’s or not? More than that, how many times can we let ourselves down and feel the latent shame of failure (even if it is only our own self who knew today we swore we’d work out) over and over again? How is it that some pick themselves up, dust themselves off and live the life they always dreamed while others remain stuck in crippling habits and attitudes?
Clearly self-help and the peddling of optimism is big business. Depending how you parse it, including seminars, supplements and books, the industry is in the billions of dollars in size. Hope springs eternal even if the result remains elusive.
Tony Robbins, one of the harbingers of the now burgeoning self-help seminar and book market, applies a kind of a formula to change. He claims to have had an epiphany as an overweight and bored janitor. A part of the epiphany? Fix your body and your mind will follow.
“Change your physical state,” he says, and in his raucous speaking engagements he insists on the audience getting out of their seats and shaking their booty. Crazy as it sounds, the effect is immediate and enervating. Welcome to the first step in real change.
Then analyze why you think you need change. Robbins, who is a guru but not a god so take this for what it is worth, suggests unhappiness is the dissonance between what you wanted life to be and what it is. Where and what did you think you would be by now, and where are you? Answering that question can be more difficult than you think.
Most therapists will say that “people do what they want.” If you are stuck in a bad pattern, try to figure out what it is doing for you. If talking of your own failure means you get to hear from your friends that you are a good, kind, wonderful person perhaps that is the only upside your subconscious is really looking for. Self awareness is the key to change.
— Tracy Nesdoly