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Consistency and change.
Consistency and change.

Change isn’t easy. If it was we’d all have amazing bodies, beautiful relationships and live stress-free lives. In general, most of us have a pretty good idea about what we can do to improve our lives but if that's the case why is making change so difficult? The enemy to lasting change is stress. Stress has a way of turning good intentions into terrible decisions.  I mean, when we boil it down change is a pretty simple equation: CHANGE = INTENTION > followed by ACTION > which results in POSITIVE OUTCOME. Seems simple enough but when we introduce stress that's when the lizard brain kicks in and the mind shifts from good intentions to survival mode. Living in survival mode is fine for the short term but over the long term, it takes its toll. To make lasting change we must recognize when our lizard brain is making the decisions. 

We’ve all done it. We decide we’re going to get in better shape, maybe drop a few pounds and start in on an intense training regiment. Who knows, maybe you’ll even run a marathon! The first couple of days go well, you’re up early, start your routine and stick with it. You might even begin to see some positive gains but pretty soon it all starts to fade. You get busy so you skip a day. One day turns into two, then a week and suddenly there you are standing on the bathroom scale, donut in hand, wondering how in the world you gained all that weight. 

To make lasting change we need to recognize two important things. First, the lizard brain doesn’t like big change so it tends to put up resistance. Second stress just makes the lizard brain stronger. So how do we put that into action? What if instead of trying to make one major sweeping change we introduce a series of smaller changes that add up over time? Doing that, we have a much better chance of sticking to our goal. So if the goal is to run a marathon, we don’t get there by suddenly practicing 10-mile runs. Instead, we build up to it slowly and consistently over time until we can run 10 miles, then 15, 20 and so on. This is only the beginning though, to make change stick we also need to address the larger issue which is how we deal with stress. To truly have a chance we must recognize when stress begins to creep into our lives and find ways to better manage it. The better we become at managing stress the less likely we are to rely on our lizard brains to make decisions and as we know when the lizard brain is in charge we're not making our best decisions.