Change is hard. Really really hard.
Even if you make up your mind and commit to the change it can be really hard to stick to it.
Imagine you are living your life. Day to day to day. And imagine that if you were to pull back and look at your life from above it would look like a crazy, twisty-turny racetrack. It would follow mostly the same path over and over, and that path would be a deep groove worn into the ground. And then sometimes that path would deviate and there would be a shallower groove that cut off from the main path and then returned to it. And you would essentially be walking this groove or path or route over and over.
Then. You make a change. A big change. A little change. I don’t think the size of the change really matters. But you decide to disrupt this groove you are accustomed to traveling. You start to dig a new path. And that is a lot harder than just walking the same groove over and over. It requires a lot more effort.
So it doesn’t seem unreasonable that you might slip back into the old groove. And give up on the change.
Maybe you actually DO dig your new path and you are heading out in new directions. That change, that new path, it could be anything. Maybe you decided to eat healthier. Perhaps you changed the way you interact with someone important in your life. Or maybe you gave up a habit that was not very healthy for you. Perhaps you decided to take 5 minutes to meditate every morning. Maybe you decided to wear yellow socks every day of the week. The actual change does not matter so much as the commitment to it.
Because here is the thing I have noticed with change. You are chugging along in your new groove, pushing ahead, and then all of a sudden you run into the old groove. The deeper, smoother, more established groove that has been there for a much longer time. And it might be so much easier to just slip back into that groove… Smooth, established groove versus rough, uncut stone.
And I think that is how relapse happens. I think that is how we start out with really good intentions and then we slip. Every time we run into that old groove or pattern or rut we have to recommit to the change we have made. EVERY. TIME. Otherwise the change does not stick. The new path does not prevail.
So every time we confront the old path and choose to stay on the new one we get a little bit stronger. We break the old mold and we cement the new one. But what I am learning about change is that I have to keep recommitting to the change every day. Because I might go 2-3 weeks without bumping into the old groove, or maybe only 2-3 hours or maybe even 2-3 years, and every time I have to keep reaffirming that I want to stay on the new path. Over and over.
And if I were my own best friend I would tell myself to stay strong. Stay on the new path. Keep digging the new groove. Stay vigilant. The old path will come back (again and again and again). Keep flexing those muscles of change. Because the transformation is worth it.