When I was growing up, I used to clean my room by shoving everything under my bed or in my closet. This was an ingrained habit for a lo-o-o-ng time.
Nowadays, I don’t keep anything under my bed. It’s a small change, but at some point in my life, I completely switched my mindset on that one way of doing things. I couldn’t really tell you why, I just do things differently now.
So, why was it so easy to make that change in my life, while others, such as dietary changes and exercise are so much harder?
My usual M.O. when making lifestyle changes is to do something extreme: I’ll move somewhere new if I feel stagnant, or start a raw food diet or do a 2-week fast if I’m feeling overweight… and I realized during this time that, whether I fail or succeed, afterwards my energy and motivation swings the opposite way and I often have to start all over again. I found that no matter how much I liked the “new me,” I still didn’t have enough motivation to hold onto him while the pendulum swung back the other direction.
Ultimately, when it came down to it, my overall perspective hadn’t been changed enough by the experience to make it sustainable. I have learned through this that you can’t force perspective. If you truly want to change your life, you need to have a life-changing experience; there are no short-cuts.
If you started going to the gym every day, and after 30 days a friend says, “dude, you’re getting some muscle-tone, you’re looking good!” And you say, “hey, he’s right!” You’ve just found a benefit of going to the gym that makes you feel good, and that creates a perspective change, because it changes how you feel about the experiences you’re having, which changes your motivations behind them.
Before, it was about not wanting to work out, but now it’s about, “oh, there’s an actual benefit that I have seen in my life, and I get a feeling I like out of it.” You start building those up and you have a perspective change.
It’s simple, really… It’s not about the thing you’re doing, it’s about the feeling you have about the thing you’re doing, and you can change how you feel by having new experiences, and giving yourself the opportunity to make different choices.
Only once you’ve changed your perspective, can you create lasting change in your life.