Behavioral Psychology

Lifestyle Change

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Many of us operate under the false idea that changes in lifestyle need to be monumental in order to be remarked upon. Others might devalue these changes, considering them easy or insignificant. If we mindfully consider any movement towards growth or desired change as cause for celebration, we can dramatically increase contentment while being able to consciously apply the steps taken in a specific case to other areas of our lives where we want to implement change.

By noticing and celebrating a change in behavior you are using positive reinforcement on yourself, which not only feels good but increases the probability of you performing that same desired action in the future. This is why it doesn’t really matter how small or big a shift in behavior is. As long as it tends in the direction of growth you have something to build on.

Thinking this way helps make more difficult and complex lifestyle changes, the type of changes that are likely to be remarked upon by those around us, seem more plausible. We already have practice successfully implementing a new behavior, and we are aware of the general steps to take as well as some of the speed bumps along the way. It might take more willpower to make a change that seems more difficult, but we already have experience with this same will power. We know its face and its attributes, even if the degree at which we have used it is slightly less intense.

That’s why you can’t let anyone rain on your parade or devalue the positive changes you are making in your life just because they seem small. Any change is difficult, not only because we have to consciously fight against habits that feel comfortable and familiar, but also because uncertainty always accompanies change, which makes painful feelings of existential anxiety bubble up.

Take the time to mindfully consider any change you enact that tends towards growth, however small it might seem to you, and congratulate yourself on the effort. Just like the tree that takes many years of continuous growth to reach full maturity, we can’t expect to jump from where we are to where we want to be without many minute changes in between. Any growth is good and thinking this way will increase your feelings of contentment about your life and make you more likely to keep at it.