• Jennifer Gunter

Why Change is Hard

Change is scary. Life is scary. We default to comfort. We default to what we know.

That place is called our comfort zone.

I have spent years of my life living in my comfort zone and that is NOT where I have thrived.

My comfort zone is the place where I feel safe and warm. But feeling safe and warm has nothing to do with transformation, personal growth, or making your dreams come true.

In my opinion, we can live our lives two ways.

The first way is the easiest. We can go about our days doing the things we feel comfortable doing, the things we're used to. If we have some bad habits that we know aren't productive, we keep doing them anyway, because its easier than the other option: quitting our bad habits. If we watch Netflix every night, but secretly yearn to pick up a book instead, we continue to yearn for better, but ultimately decide to stick with what's comfortable.

The second way is difficult, and to be honest sometimes it can be exhausting. But hear me out. This is where LIFE HAPPENS. This is the place where dreams come true, where those little moments of passion drive us to become better. These are the times we look back on fondly and say, "WOW! Look how far I have come".

This is where we learn the dance routine that we've always wanted to do, but were too embarrassed or shy to do. This is where we decide to quit that bad habit that has controlled our lives for too long. This is where we decide to leave a relationship that was no longer serving us. This is where we decide to attend all those church functions even though we're not a people person. This is where we start praying with other people even though we don't know how to pray, but we know that so much good will come out of it. This is where we do that thing that we've always wanted to do but SOMETHING held us back. You get the point.

These are the moments and decisions that shape our lives. These are the make-it-or-break-it moments that change the paths we take. We can choose to stay stuck in our addictions, some of which quite literally suck the life out of us. Or, we can take on the difficult task of doing something we've never done: give it up, let it go.

This post is a difficult one for me to make because I have gotten stuck into a familiar pattern.

For almost a month, I would open my laptop and go right to Faith & Food and write something, or create a Bible verse image, or brainstorm.

But then all of the sudden I stopped. It happened when my husband and I went to Nebraska for a week for his birthday which also happens to be on Independence day. We had so much fun with his family, and in the midst of it all, I forgot about my blog.

My blog is a new habit, I just started it not even two months ago. That week off was enough to push me away from writing. I'm not quite sure why, but nonetheless here we are.

I finally decided to just open my laptop and start writing and this is the first thing that came to mind.

Lately I've been thinking about how hard it is to pick up new habits, especially ones that we don't particularly want to do but know that we should do. This could be working out, eating healthy, self-care, cleaning, etc.

We know that meal prepping will make us less likely to eat take-out later on in the week when we don't feel like cooking, but what do we do? We shrug it off because we just don't feel like doing it. Why?

We know that working out will improve our health and eventually make us have more energy and feel better. But, putting on those running shoes and just doing it seems like the hardest thing in the world sometimes. We might get into the groove for a few weeks but then something comes up to throw us off track, or we just lose motivation and decide against it. Why?

A little over a year ago, I came across a book called "Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard"by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. This book changed my perspective on change, and it explains why personal growth is so difficult. They use concepts like the elephant and the rider. To break it down simply, the elephant is our emotional side and the rider is the rational thinker. Now picture the rider trying to prevent the elephant from doing what it naturally wants to do. Pretty difficult, huh? The rider gets exhausted trying to wrangle the elephant into submission.

For example, you want to start eating healthier. You research what "eating healthy" looks like and learn all about protein, complex carbs, healthy fats, and fiber. You download a meal plan you found online and make a list of healthy foods you'd like to buy. You throw away your junk food and go grocery shopping. You get home and make a meal and you love it, you're so excited to do the same thing tomorrow.

Tomorrow rolls around and you go to work as usual. You had a busy day at work. You come home and just want to relax but you remember that you still have to cook that food you bought yesterday. You are so tired of making decisions that you default to your old behavior. You order take-out and watch TV instead.

In this case, your rider had momentum in the beginning but then got worn down after fighting your cravings and learning about nutrition then on top of that hard personal work, you had a hard day at work. The elephant (your appetite and cravings) took over and led the way to takeout food and Netflix. See where I'm going with this?

Anyway, I won't get too much into the rest of the book; that is just one of the many concepts. I highly recommend reading it if you need an extra little boost to push you towards being the person you want to be! Click the link below to purchase the book off of Amazon.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard

If you don't feel like reading the entire book but want a quick summary click here: Switch Summary. You'll get the gist of the book but you'll miss out on some great anecdotes and back stories which are important for motivating you to change.

Change isn't easy for anyone, but if we try to make a habit out of it, it gets easier.

In closing, I'm here to tell you that you CAN achieve your dreams; you can and you WILL. Sometimes, we have this picture of our "ideal self" that we aspire to be one day.

I think reality falls somewhere in between our ideal self and who we are right now. Perfection is not attainable, but we can try to accomplish the goals we set for ourselves.

Let's not get overwhelmed by fear of the unknown. Give your fears to God and he will help you become the best you that you can be.

Show yourself some grace, be patient with yourself, and remember that change doesn't have to be linear. We make progress, and then we might stumble, but eventually we will get back up and try again.

- Jenni

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