The old saying “Old habits die hard” is a saying that perfectly describes why it is hard to change your behaviour, more so when dealing with another person in a relationship. A behavioural change such as following through on a goal, completing a new year’s resolution is more than just making a simple decision to be different neither is it a linear process. Even more, it is often seen as a complicated process for good reason. It requires a person to disrupt an existing pattern or habit while simultaneously fostering another.
Psychologists studying behavioural change have established one of the reasons for difficulty in behavioural change to be that you are unaware of the genesis of the behaviour so you can’t reach into yourself and fix it. These behaviours usually began as a protective or adaptive behaviour built as a coping mechanism in childhood. As a result, in your adult relationships, you find yourself reacting in certain ways in your relationships and this will often hurt your partner. I am sure you want to be triggered into buying sex dolls for comfort, so you need to make the change.
Psychology Today explains 8 reasons why it is difficult to change your behaviours when you’re in a relationship. Let us discuss them below.
You’re motivated by negative emotions
Lots of time people tend to use negative emotions as a catalyst for behaviour change. Thus they try to capitalize on fear, guilt, and shame as a motivation to initialize lasting behaviour change meanwhile the opposite should be the case. Furthermore, a review of various behaviour change studies showed that the least effective change strategies were attached to regret, fear, and shame.
While negative emotions will force you to think about everything you are not doing or everything you are doing wrong, positive emotions give you self-edifying reasons that trigger lasting change.
You get trapped by thinking fallacies
When trying to trigger a behaviour change it is important to avoid overwhelming feelings because it tends to create an all-or-nothing mindset. This is thinking “I am going to change and if I don’t, it means I can’t do it”. This fallacious mindset will only result in trapping you into a no-win situation because it reduces the odds of achieving even the most insignificant change. For instance, think of when you set a new year resolution or goal for fitness, you create tight schedules around the gym expecting immediate results but because the motivation was wrong, it tends to fade out and you abandon your gym membership and miss your fitness goal. Therefore, you need to get rid of this mentality to avoid getting trapped in it.
You try to eat the entire elephant
Making changes to existing behaviour is no small feat, no matter the behaviour. It is almost impossible to do it all at once; you can’t change your behaviour in one stride. You have to start somewhere and take small and measurable steps rather than big and vague steps. For instance example rather than “I am going to be fit” try “I am going to be active in the gym 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes”. These specific actions broken down into steps is a spoonful of behaviour change, and over time you get cumulative and lasting change in behaviour. To trigger and sustain behaviour change, people need these specific goals to act as performance targets that they can use to measure the behaviour change. Just like “SMART” goals, these cumulative actions should be specific and realistic.
You neglect the toolbox
When your plumbing is bad, you need the right tools to successfully fix it and changing your behaviour should not be any different. The point is that we need reliable tools to support sustained changes in our behaviour. As an illustration, imagine that you want to go on a vegan diet, you will need to find out types of vegan foods and other requirements for a vegan diet; these are the tools in your toolbox in this case. So in your journey on behaviour change, you need to find out those things that you need that will support and sustain your behaviour change. Some of these tools for behaviour change are generic and available to those who need them while others are specific to a particular individual.
You try to change too much
As said earlier, behaviour change is not a small feat and it usually takes lots of time and effort. The trick here is to take small steps at a time. When you try to do it all at once you are likely to be setting yourself up for failure but if you commit yourself to one long-term behaviour change, that is a commendable effort. Self-control, motivation, and attention are the major resources we rely upon to successfully activate a behaviour change and these resources are limited. Certainly, trying to change too much all at once will significantly place unrealistic demands on those resources and is likely to ruin our efforts.
You underestimate the process
When embarking on a journey to behaviour change, remember that change is never just one thing but rather a connection of related actions and sustained change will be impossible without a process. It is easier to force ourselves into believing that behaviour change should be easier, but long-term behaviour change that you need is a tough process that requires steps to achieve success.
You forget that failure is always an option
When trying to trigger behaviour change, people tend to forget that failure is not only an option, but it is inevitable. It is part of the process and another chance to try again. With each round of failure in behaviour change, you will realize what areas need more time and attention before you eventually achieve success. Failing is part of the process and should not make you give in to defeat.
Long term behaviour change in our relationships is a challenge that involves time, effort, dedication, and support of our loved ones. Whether it is a change in our diet, habits, exercise, or dependency, no change is easy or instant. It is a process that requires our patience to complete.