Life Performance Blog: This Is Why You Can't Change

Trying to change your habits, you may be surprised to meet our “inner child”.

In the middle of learning to live without old habits, our toddler selves might be pouting, saying “No! Mine!”, kicking our heels on the oor, and whining.

Waaaaaah! I wanna cookie!

Or maybe our adolescent selves might be wanting to rebel, break rules, or shock imaginary parents who are, like, totally boring and stupid and don’t understand anything.

This sucks! You can't tell me what to do! I'm eating candy anyway!

What's your "same old story"?

If you notice your inner brat appearing sometimes, don’t worry.

It can often happen when you try to adjust to a "new normal" and try to break old habits.

In part, this is because we’re often making decisions about today, or tomorrow, based on old stories that we learned a long time ago.

We might have learned stories or scripts about how things "should" go, or how things have gone in the past.

Perhaps stories like this:

1. In order to lose weight / be healthy, I have to deprive myself.

2 . This deprivation should be very strict. I have to make a lot of rules!

3 . These rules are "all or nothing". If I break the rules, even just a little, then I am bad and "off plan".

4. Once I am "off plan", then $%#! it!! I am eating whatever I want!

5 . Ugh. I feel awful. I am weak. I always fail. There is no hope for me.

6 . Wait... I probably need more rules.

7 . In order to lose weight / be healthy, I have to deprive myself further.

And so it goes.

Kind of a lousy story actually.

Relying on past stories and scripts to tell us how to act now rarely helps us.

This is especially true if we’re trying to change... because we’re now experimenting with something new.

One problem is that we can’t always use the past to predict the future.

Your story may have been written when you were 5, or 10, or 15. It may not be relevant now to you as an adult.

Plus, our brains selectively remember things.

We might remember the bad stuff (“I failed!”) and forget the good stuff (“I tried and stuck with it”).

Or we might remember that something “worked” (like an extreme diet) when it actually didn’t.

For example:

Deprivation, restriction, and "food rules" seem like they should work. But they don't.

There are many reasons why;

- You can’t bully nor belittle anyone into changing, including yourself. Being extra- strict and self-blaming (aka seeking deprivation) doesn’t work.

- Our bodies evolved mechanisms to prevent starvation. These mechanisms can shape our thoughts and feelings.