It should be quite straight forward, shouldn’t it? We identify something in our life we want to change, whether it’s our weight, relationships, work, diet, exercise…. and go ahead and change it. Yet it’s always so difficult isn’t it.
I grew up under the impression my grandparents were about to move to the country. Yet they never did. From grandparents to governments, our paths are strewn with good intentions. We do seem to struggle enormously with change.
If an alien came to visit us they could be forgiven for zooming back to their distant universe harbouring the mistaken belief that humans were essentially one track beings; that we carve out our lives and stay there whether we like it or not, occasionally grumbling or dreaming of “what if…..”
There are many reasons why we don’t change, we explore quite a few of them during our Counseling Retreat. Here’s one idea that is often useful.
If you know where you are and know where you want to get to, and you’re still not changing this is what’s going on.
Have you ever felt that you are taking two steps forward and one step, or two steps back? In motivational psychology and change therapy this is called “The Approach – Avoidance Trap”.
Dr Antony Ryle, eminent in London’s psychiatric services referred to it as a “snag”; a circular pattern of behaviour. When we approach our goal a whole set of insecurities and worries are triggered that sabotage our progress and we retreat back to where we started. It’s what is usually happening when you hear someone say something like, “ I wish I could ……… but…..”.
It’s that “but” that gives the snag away. Do you say anything similar?
Sometimes these “buts” are quite realistic and to do with practicalities, money, location etc… Often though they are rooted in our psychopathology, our psychological make up “I wish I could….but I just know it wouldn’t work out”.
So, what to do about it………….
Listen carefully to people around you and identify their “change snags”. Listen carefully for the “but”. Once you have got used to this, begin to listen to yourself. What do you want to achieve or change and what “buts” are you using.
Next, write them down. Write down the process that you go through step by step. Once you do that and it seems clear and accurate you should have an odd looking diagram in front of you. Examine the journey you take and look for ways out.
If you’re stuck or would like some more information about how to change, Counseling, Life Coaching Holidays or our Counseling Retreat send us an email and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.