"Dying is easy; Change is hard" -- that was the title of a book review in the New York Times for the lukewarm reception of How We Are (by health psychologist Vincent Deary). I haven't read the book, but I understand Deary's premises -- that it's really hard for people to change, even when they have the best of intentions!
One medical study showed that even when confronted with a life threatening condition and told by doctors that they had to make changes in their personal lifestyles (e.g., quit smoking, exercise, etc.), it was found that, one year later, only one out of seven had been able make the necessary lifestyle changes. (From Kagen/Lahey, 2009.) If it is that hard to make personal changes, even when faced with a life threatening condition, consider the challenge it is for us to change everyday behaviors to reduce hardships and suffering or to create new habits and behaviors that bring about positive changes in our lives.
We sometimes knock ourselves for things we haven't done or can't seem to do, and then perhaps knock ourselves a second time for feeling badly that we feel bad, as if we weren't good enough or were lacking as individuals. Or we might feel that we are just fine the way we are, or we're too old to change!
We all have something -- (perhaps we eat too much, or not exercise enough, or procrastinate too much, or engage in self=limiting behaviors in a myriad of other ways) -- and no amount of goal setting, motivational encouragement, or information seems to help.
If this isn't you, you're so lucky! -- But it could be that the changes you need are in your blind spots - and others can see it, but you can't.
Harvard researchers Robert Kagen and Lisa Lahey suggest something new altogether -- that by the time we have lived a while, we come to develop a certain immunity to change, Just as we accumulate antigens and antibodies to offset outside invasions to our bodies, Kagen and Lahey suggest we develop an immunity to change to maintain a dynamic equilibrium of "who we are." The fascinating thing is that they have developed a method for helping to uncover our immunity to change that is proving itself to be quite effective, and it is quickly becoming part of organizational change and leadership training, as well as being used for individual growth and transition work. Kagen and Lahey's work was even recently featured in Oprah!
I've been interested in Kagen's work since 1987, and I see also that change comes more easily and in step increases when we integrate our consciously expressed goals and intentions with an understanding of our subconscious influences. That's when change seems to happen more effortlessly! I'm attending the Immunity to Change Facilitator's training in March. I can't wait.
Thoughts for creating success in the second half of life.