Healthy changes are so hard to make

Healthy changes are so hard to make

Have you ever wondered what it is that keeps us from changing?

Where is that resistance within us coming from? What convinces us not to have time for ourselves?

Written by Linda Turrini

Linda Turrini - Women's International Network of Florence

Everyone has those moments while writing the to-do list, when our best purposes arise; we dream to be waking up at 6 am starting our day with some exercise, which will make us fresh and energetic, so we can cook a nice healthy breakfast and have a cold regenerative shower and be on time for work.

Some of us perhaps are decisive about finding time to go for a nice long walk this week.

But the reality is… apart from those rare exceptions when we really make it happen, we struggle to keep consistency in looking for those activities that would positively engage our minds and invigorate our bodies.

Sometimes thinking of the many people who find time daily to dedicate to themselves can arouse feelings of jealousy or guilt.

Have you ever wondered what it is that keeps us from changing? Where is that resistance within us coming from? What convinces us not to have time for ourselves?

As a health practitioner, I am very passionate about understanding the fundamentals of human behavior that drive change, together with those obstacles that prevent it.

I am totally convinced that awareness is the key to healing and change, but other elements keep us from just dedicating ourselves to those good habits that we know would make an improvement in our lives.

I have then studied (and experienced myself!) the impediments to achieving positive change: according to Kurt Lewin, one of the most remarkable sociologists and psychologists of the last century, the attractiveness of the situation that we can obtain through change is not enough to create the change. The simple consciousness of the utility of the target we want to reach is, alone, never enough to motivate the behavior.

Subconsciously human beings’ priority is preservation, therefore we have the tendency to maintain the status quo, which means to maintain things as stable as possible and that we would do everything we can to avoid having to change. Only when the situation becomes totally unbearable, we then succumb to consider adopting a different behavior.

What are these obstacles then?

Well, many sociological and anthropological books have been written about this topic. From my study, I can say that they are beliefs and stereotypes (which drive phrases like I don’t have time, I am not suitable for that, I am not able to fit anything else into my day) together with the psychological need for certainty. Certainty is a delusion. If we are able to comfortably live in uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in our lives. It means fear won’t be a predominant factor in what we do and won’t prevent us from taking action to initiate the change.

As a therapist, my goal is to encourage my clients to actively and responsibly engage in the little but significant actions that lead to gaining awareness and taking good care of themselves. The harmony with ourselves and the environment cannot be imposed from the outside, it needs to be achieved within. The first fundamental step to modify our health state and reach the top levels of wellbeing is gaining awareness of which factors have been keeping us from changing and achieving the ‘ideal’ condition and understanding how much we can do to improve ourselves. This process will continue throughout life and can be facilitated by having guidance from a holistic complementary therapist.

My role during a wellbeing consultancy is to help deconstruct negative beliefs that subconsciously drive behaviors and to construct a positive mental approach to life, by creating together an achievable plan that encompasses your time and financial constraints, health issues, and psychological needs.

“It becomes easier for me to accept myself as a decidedly imperfect person, who by no means functions at all times in the way in which I would like to function. This must seem to some like a very strange direction in which to move. It seems to me to have value because the curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I change.”
Carl R. Rogers, On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy

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