Friday, May 25, 2007

Baby Steps and Change

We have all known someone who can't seem to quit smoking, lose weight, quit gambling or change some other negative behavior. No matter what they try they stay the same. We can think that they are too lazy to make the effort.

Perhaps there is another very simple answer. We can sometimes work harder at staying the same than we do at making a change. There is a definite comfort in having things stay the same. We know what to expect.

What does that mean?

We use our past experiences with our perceptions of what is occurring right now to predict the results of our actions. If we make a change then our predictive ability depends on expectations rather than our experiences. If that generates enough fear in us then we will stay with what is known.

Sometimes this fear can mean that we stay in situations that are considered terrible. We consider the risks of change too high. We all have a great ability to rationalize and justify our actions of staying the same and believe that our decisions are in our own best interests.

If we are stuck in a behavior we want to change then we may need to breakdown our goals into smaller and smaller changes until we find that one action we can take. Without action nothing changes.

Sometimes we need to make baby steps to climb the mountain.

9 conversations:

paisley said...

thank you for this peter,, this is something that has been very much on my mind of late...sometimes the first steps, may not even be visable to others,, it can be merely a realization of the seat of the desire....

Peter Haslam said...

Well said paisley as long as we know that is enough

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

i know this is what i need to do for my weight problem, sigh....

smiles, bee

Peter Haslam said...

Well Bee I would start with eliminating 1 pc of chocolate cake every 6 months. :) You will when you are ready Bee.

Ed said...

It is strange too how we humans are so cock sure of ourselves that we actually think we have enough past experience to know what would happen if we did make a change.

I would never have been able to predict the full consequences of say giving up drinking. There are so many subtle repercussions possible, we are definitely missing out through fear of change.

Peter Haslam said...

They are both figments of our imagination Ed that we buy as being real. The present is never as we imagined it. Thanks for the addition to the conversation.

Comedy + said...

Baby steps are the answer. Small doses and pretty soon you have traveled miles. Great read.

Peter Haslam said...

Thanks sandee the voice of experience

Coromega said...

Thoughtful and balanced review..Always take baby steps and you will travel so high..