Posted: 02 Mar 2012 08:32 AM PST
Post written by Leo Babauta.
When you try to make a change in your life, create a new habit, set a resolution … are you usually good at it, or does the change fail after 2-3 weeks?
Some people are better at it than others because they’ve learned some simple strategies for changing, but also because they’ve built up their change muscle.
What’s a change muscle? It’s the muscle we use for creating changes in our lives, and like our physical muscles, it is weak if you haven’t trained it.
I started training my change muscle in 2005, when it was weak and I could never make any lasting changes. I felt helpless, and didn’t know what to do. I felt like I couldn’t ever make changes.
But I’ve learned in the years since that the change muscle is like other muscles: you might be weak at first, but you get stronger with regular training.
Imagine trying to lift a barbell with 350 lbs. of weights on it. Even lifting it 6 inches off the ground would be a nearly impossible feat for people who haven’t trained their muscles to lift heavy loads. You’d struggle and nearly burst a vein, but you wouldn’t budge the barbell. But … if you started with just the barbell (no weights on it) and began lifting that, you’d be much more likely to succeed. Then add 5-10 lbs. on each side, and your muscles will grow stronger. Keep adding a little at a time, and soon you’ll be able to lift the 350-lb. loaded barbell that once seemed impossible.
Your change muscle works in the same ways. As I’ve been learning about growing physical muscles, I realize how many parallels there are with growing the change muscle.
Principles of Growth
The principles for growing your change muscle are similar to growing regular muscles:
So how do you get started training your change muscle if it’s weak and undertrained? Just like you’d get started with strength training — start with bodyweight exercises, and just a few per day.
Here’s what I’d recommend:
You’ll be amazed at how much progress you make over time, as your change muscle grows stronger.
We tend to blame our failures on our lack of discipline, but we’re not undisciplined … we’re just undertrained. Grow your change muscle with smart principles of growth, and soon you’ll be a hulking beast of a change master.
The Sea Change Program
Want help creating long-term change? Today (March 2) is the last day to sign up for the Zen Habits Sea Change Program. We’ll help you build your change muscle with the help of experts, and hundreds of others making similar changes.
Read more and sign up for the Zen Habits Sea Change Program.
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