6 Reasons People Don’t Self-Improve (Even when they are telling you they want to)
Like me, you have probably met some people who tell you they would like things to be different. They want things to be better than what they are now. They want to change how they are and how things are. Like me, you have probably met those people who tell you this quite often. Yet they never seem to change. Why is that?
It could be for lots of reasons. Over the years I have met so many people who fall into this ‘want to change but never do’ category. Here are 6 reasons why I have found they don’t (Not in order of importance)
They like the way they are now
Yes they may be harping on and on when you meet them that they want things to be different and that they want to change, but they don’t deep down. Why? because they are getting some kind of emotional payment from how they are now. The way they are gives them some kind of reward, somewhere in their life. Maybe how they are get’s them extra attention, more love or just more connection. Whatever it is, the payment they are getting, the reward, is far outweighing anything they constantly moan about.
As Larry Winget says in his marvelous book, Shut up, Stop Whining and Get a Life, “You like yourself just the way you are. If you didn’t, you would be in the process of changing”
They don’t have a compelling goal
This can be a biggie. “I would change if I just knew what I wanted to do” they say often. Yes of course they would. This is an excuse not to change. Finding what you really want to do is a process. Of course some people seem to fall, almost stumble into what they really, really want to do (And are therefore inspired enough to make the changes necessary to get it and do it), there are exceptions to all rules. I get that. But they could start with what they are interested in. Everyone has something that interests them. And if not, then they should keep looking and try new jobs, new things until they do. And ask themselves the right questions. Once they find what they want to do and why they will feel compelled, and deeply inspired, to change. But in my opinion they should stop hiding behind this, it’s an excuse.
They aren’t sick and tired of being sick and tired
People do things for two reasons. Either to move towards pleasure or away from pain. In this case they aren’t in enough pain to make a positive shift away from any pain they might be feeling. Quite often when I coach, I have to help clients move towards some kind of personal pain faster. I might get them to visualise a life of sheer misery for example if they don’t do anything. This can send them beyond the pain barrier to make lasting change. When people have finally ‘had enough’ they will do whatever it takes to change their life for the better.
They don’t give any one ‘System’ enough time
You may often see them clutching a self-improvement book. Or you know they have been on a seminar, a course or whatever. But they don’t give the system they are learning enough time to work. In fact, it’s not long before they are telling you they are going to change themselves and possibly the world because they have just been on yet another seminar. Something more promising, more alluring caught their attention. A week later, they are back to normal.
Self-improvement, which is basically a process of forming new habits of behaviours, including thinking patterns (Amongst others) can take time to form. Maybe they expect instant results. But just like physical improvement, self-improvement of the mind can also take time.
The Unconscious mind resists the change
I blog about this often as those of you who regularly read my stuff will know; but it’s okay, your unconscious mind loves repetition, so you can remind yourself.
Even when people set off on a path to personal change the unconscious mind will resist it. It will not want to accept the new changes even when they are for the better. It doesn’t know the new world they are creating is going to be safe. Yesterday’s world was safe, today’s world was safe. But those changes they are making? Will they keep them safe? The unconscious mind needs to be convinced everything will be okay. It needs to be trained to accept and like change. It should welcome change like a long lost friend.
Changing breaks a Psychological Law
By changing, one may lose one’s identity (Which they will, they will be a better or happier person). The thing is, there is a Law which psychologists refer to as the Law of Concerted Effort. In other words, the more effort one puts into something, the more likely they are to keep steadfastly hold of it and not want to let it go. This is one reason failing business owners refuse to shut up shop even when the writing is on the wall. They have put so much effort into building it they cannot let go. And so it is the same when a person has spent so much effort and time into building their personality or identity. Think about it, some people have spent years and even decades creating themselves (Or so they think) why on earth should they waste all that time and effort? They won’t want to. And most often, they don’t.
In my observation and opinion these are the main reasons people fail to make positive change in their lives that lasts. Even the people who are quite good at convincing you exactly how much they hate their life the way it is now…
Where and whenever possible try not to give their reasons why they say they want to change any more fuel. Try not to give those things they are complaining about too much attention.
But keep believing them. Have faith in them if they are close to you. Be the example if you can. Maybe you will be the inspiration for them to finally make that change?
You just never know.
Until next time, remember, anything really is possible.