Tuesday, October 14, 2003

I'm read this GREAT book by George Leonard called "Mastery, The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment” In it he has a chapter called "Why Resolutions Fail - and What to do About it." I thought I would share some of this with you all as I'm sure you could relate...

His answer to why resolutions fail is Homeostasis or "The ability or tendency of an organism or cell to maintain internal equilibrium by adjusting its physiological processes". So, when we starting making changes, especially DRASTIC changes, Internally, Homeostasis kicks in, and makes us feel uncomfortable, so that things can remain "status quote” Externally, our family, friends, and/or coworkers may rebel in an effort to maintain the 'sameness' of their life, and/or their relationship with you. (Please understand I am paraphrasing). So how do we fight Homeostasis? Here are his tips...

1. Be aware of the way homeostasis works.

This might be the most important guideline of all. Expect resistance and backlash. Realize that when the alarm bells start ringing, it doesn't necessarily mean you're sick or crazy or lazy or that you've made a bad decision. In fact, you might take these signals as an indication that your life is definitely changing -- just what you've wanted. Of course, it might be that you have started something that's not right for you; only you can decide. But in any case, don't panic and give up at the first sign of trouble.

You might also expect resistance from friends and family and co-workers. (Homeostasis, as we've seen, applies to social systems as well as individuals.) Bear in mind that an entire system has to change when any part of it changes. So, don't be surprised if some of the people you love start covertly or overtly undermining your self-improvement. It's not that they with you harm, its just homeostasis at work.

2. Be willing to negotiate with your resistance to change.

So, what should you do when you run into resistance, when the red lights flash and the alarm bells ring? Well, you don't back off, and you don't bull your way through. Negotiation is the ticket to successful long-term change in everthing from increasing your running speed to transforming your organizaiton. The fine art of playing the edge in this case involves a willingness to take one step back for every two forward, sometimes vice versa. It also demands a determination to keep pushing, but not without awareness. Simply turning off your awareness to the warnings deprives you of guidance and risk damaging the system. Simply pushing your way through despite the warning signals increases the possibility of backsliding.

You can never be sure exactly where the resistance will pop up. A feeling of anxiety? Psychosomatic complaints? A tendency toward self-sabotage? Squabbles with family, friends, or fellow workers? None of the above? Stay alert. Be prepared of serious negotiations.

3. Develop a support system

You can do it alone, but it helps a great deal to have other people with whom you can share the joys and perils of the change you’re making. The best support system would involve people who have gone through or are going through a similar process, people who can tell their own stories of change and listen to yours, people who will brace you up when you start to backslide and encourage you when you don’t.

4. Follow a regular practice.

People embarking on any type of change can gain stability and comfort through practicing some worthwhile activity on a more or less regular basis, not so much for the sake of achieving an external goal as simply for its own sake. The circumstances are particularly happy in case you’ve already established a regular practice in something else before facing the challenge and change of beginning a new one.

5. Dedicate yourself to lifelong learning

We tend to forget that learning is much more then book learning. To learn is to change. Education, weather it involves books, body, or behavior, is a process that changes the learner. It doesn’t have to end at college graduation or at age forty or sixty or eighty, and the best learning of all involves learning how to learn – that is to change. The lifelong learning is essentially one who has learned to deal with homeostasis, simply because he or she is doing it all the time

No comments:

Post a Comment