There's always more to learn

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Q: I've tried to change before but I always go back to old habits. What should I do differently?

A: Change the label you give yourself. If you think of yourself only as someone who has tried and failed, it's only natural for you to eventually give up. Why would your brain let you keep running into roadblocks again and again?


And yet this is the exact same juncture where you have the opportunity to choose a different route. You can consider a roadblock a sign to quit, or you can step back and examine it in order to figure out a way around it. Getting around this roadblock is possible; it will likely take some creativity and maybe someone else's perspective, but you can get around it.


And when you figure that out, it's crazy empowering.


That's not to say that it will be smooth sailing from there on, but as you get practice navigating roadblocks, it becomes easier and easier and your confidence grows and before too long, you'll find yourself in a very different place.


There are two ways to work on changing this label.


Option one: Take the time to describe who it is you want to be. How do you want to think of yourself? How do you want others to think of you? What kind of life does that person live? What are their behaviors? Their habits? Their feelings throughout the day as they go about their life? Be very descriptive and really put yourself in their shoes.


The second option is to think back to your past attempts to build a new routine, start an exercise program, eat healthier, be more connected to people, whatever target you've tried to reach in the past that didn't work out as you'd hoped. What did you do to try to change? What made it hard? What got in the way? Who helped or hurt your efforts? What emotions overwhelmed you that you struggled to push through? Now, instead of calling each of those experiences a "failure", reframe them as "data".


There are countless examples of instances where information is gleaned from data in order to inform choices moving forward. All those "failures" from your past were actually just fact-finding missions, providing data for you to use when you were finally ready to go all-in and make changes for real.


You are not a failure, you are a deliberate researcher of your own life, collecting clues to guide you toward becoming your best possible self. When you reframe the experiences that way, the time was not wasted. Those experiences were rich with information that you can use to make good choices in your future.


Change the label you give yourself. What you believe about yourself controls the choices you make throughout your day. The choices you make create the habits that stick.