Goal setting Mindfulness Motivation Self care and recovery

Two Odd Questions That Can Spark Change

Habits versus changes

Do you feel stuck, or are you struggling to change?

Here’s a simple tool you can try. It involves asking yourself two questions that, at first glance, might seem a bit odd. That’s because they’re the opposite of the way we tend to think about change.

We typically think of change as something positive and GOOD. But with these two questions, you’ll do something very different: assume that change is difficult, and explore why you might want to avoid it.

The reality is that change IS hard. Pretending it isn’t can actually increase your resistance and make you less likely to change.

All behavior exists to solve a problem

You may make decisions that you don’t entirely understand, but that doesn’t mean these decisions don’t serve a purpose. For example, you might sincerely want to stop your late-night snacking habit in favor of getting more sleep and eating fewer processed foods.

But that snacking serves a purpose: maybe it’s the only time during your busy day that you feel is truly yours.

When you understand the true purpose your “bad” habit serves, the better you can work to change it (or not – not changing is an acceptable option!)

So use two these questions if…

  • You feel a bit “stuck” or ambivalent about change
  • You say you want to make progress but you aren’t taking action
  • You feel uncertain about how to move forward
  • You feel “on the fence” about committing to a program, habit, or goal
  • You keep falling off the wagon or struggle to stay consistent

Find some uninterrupted time, some blank paper and a pen, and write down your honest answers to these two questions.

Question 1: What is GOOD about NOT changing?

In other words, what are the benefits of keeping things just the way they are now?

For example, the benefit might mean staying in a familiar routine, or maintaining an identity that feels safe and comfortable.

Question 2: What would be BAD about changing?

In other words, if you do change, what might you lose or give up?

For example, changing may disrupt your routine, invite social awkwardness, or involve saying goodbye to habits—or an identity—that you like, or at least feel comfortable with.

Awareness is a powerful thing

By working through these questions, you may get a clearer view of what truly motivates you, and why you really do the things you do.

You’ll have a better understanding of what you’re actually willing to do and try, and what you aren’t. Plus, you’ll be better positioned to make the change easier and more manageable.

Author’s Note: The content of this article is based on the writings of Camille DePutter for Precision Nutrition.

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