Well, I’m going to say it is, but also, you’re right, it isn’t – and nor should it be.
Let me explain…
Why Change Is, and Isn’t Easy
It is easy.
Of course it is.
It’s easy in concept at least.
Though our lives may be complex, gnarled and tangled with problems, I am still adamant that what we need to do to move forward is simple.
What we need to do is often so simple, it frustrates us that we don’t make it.
But simplifying things is not always easy.
… Because We Often Get In Our Own Way
Take limiting beliefs for example.
Let’s look at the highest level, most simple limiting belief:
I can’t do it.
Of course it’s easy to turn this limiting belief into an empowering belief:
I can do it.
Or even better, throwing a little ‘Law of Attraction’ magic in there:
I can achieve anything I want.
There we go.
Well, not quite.
We may have changed the belief, but have we really looked at how to do it? Have we considered our obstacles and accounted for them rationally? Have we accepted things we can’t change and rather than worrying about them (because we can’t change them)? Have we moved on and found a path that considers this fact and deals with it? Have we visualized the end result we’re looking for?
… Because Things Sometimes Just Don’t Work
When I wrote about The Only Two Trends That Matter, I put forward another simple concept – that with any change we are trying to make (e.g. diet) we can take a lot of the pressure off ourselves, again, by simplifying things and just looking at whether things overall are getting better or worse.
This leaves us some room to stumble but get back on track.
As long as, overall, things are getting better then we should give ourselves a break.
But what if overall things aren’t getting better?
What if you keep on reassuring yourself yet the trend keeps on going the wrong way?
… Because We Cheat And We Delude Ourselves
Sometimes the reason things aren’t going well isn’t actually because we’re doing the right things but it’s just not working.
It’s because we are doing the wrong things but convincing ourselves we’re doing the right things.
For example, I recently tried the slow-carb diet and even though it went fairly well, I wasn’t getting the kind of results I expected. If you look through the comments of that post, you’ll see that someone pulled me up on not following the diet correctly (some people are VERY passionate about this diet). Whether I agree with the comments or not, it’s an example of where you may think that a change you’re making is not working but if you’re not doing it right (but telling yourself you are) then of course you won’t get the results you expected from that change.
The worlds best poker players know that they’re not going to win every hand. They know that it’s a game with a huge element of luck, but they are consistently the worlds best players because of their skill in how to manage that luck. Specifically, when we’re talking about No Limit Texas Hold-Em poker (the most popular, lucrative and the particular variation played in the World Series Of Poker) this is actually a game of skill (feel free to debate with me on that one) which regularly sees the same famous players appear at the final tables – out of millions of contestants every year.
These great poker players know that they are following their strategy, they made the right moves, but they just got unlucky that time. They didn’t do anything wrong so they continue objectively and win in the long run.
For every great player who knows they are following their strategy and just got unlucky that time, there are hundreds of thousands of nearly great poker players who think that they are following their strategy, they made the right moves, but they just got unlucky that time. In fact, they made the wrong moves, they continue oblivious to that fact and lose in the long run.
In other words, they delude themselves, so they don’t get the results they want.
… Because We Get Misled
In an article I wrote about the difference between ‘Wealth’ and ‘Money’, I touched upon the importance of living within your means.
Again, easy to say.
Live within your means.
This is possibly the best advice I can give anyone.
Again, it’s really easy to get your head around.
It makes perfect sense.
But is it easy to do?
Well, for a number of reasons. Not least, in most of today’s economies we’ve been led to believe that debt is something normal. Debt isn’t normal. Or at least it shouldn’t be. It’s money we don’t have.
… Because Circumstances Get In The Way?
OK, so this last one is an excuse.
Circumstances very rarely get in the way.
We may think they do, but often when you look really closely, it’s not circumstances that get in the way, it’s us – and we’re back to limiting beliefs.
This is because, whilst we can’t always control our circumstances, we can always (and I mean always) control our reaction to them.
So, I’m afraid I’m not giving you this one.
What To Do About It: Your 4 Options
So it is easy in concept.
But it isn’t always easy in practice.
For all of the reasons outlined above and maybe even a few more.
What you need to do is right here in these articles.
There’s enough here to get your teeth into and really change you life if you want to.
But of course I do agree that in practice it’s often not easy. We fail (p.s. we have an article for that too – read ‘Why It’s OK to fail‘), we struggle, we give up, it seems like we’re never going to get there.
I get it.
So what to do then?
Well, fortunately there are still a few choices left.
We always have options.
Every moment of our lives, whether we realize it or not, we are making decisions.
Not deciding is one of those decisions 😉
Anyways, here come your four options…
Option 1: Give Up, Go Back To How You Were
Not the end of the world. You tried, you failed, you gave up.
You didn’t exactly solve what you were trying to solve, but you gave it a go.
You told them that it wasn’t easy, and you were right.
Maybe next time.
There is of course a slight problem with this one: every next time it becomes significantly easier to give up. In fact, you are being successful at something, developing a habit.
But giving up is the habit you’re developing.
… and that’s not what you want, is it?
Option 2: Persist. Even When You Fail, You Keep Trying…
You Persist. Get Up. Keep Trying. Learn and Adjust until You Get there.
This way may take you a little longer but it is the way to go. It’s the attitude we’re looking for.
This is exactly what I was talking about when I wrote the ‘The Only Two trends that matter’ article.
This is good stuff. Keep going.
It may take you a little longer this way but you’re learning along the way.
As long as you can afford to take this approach, then it’s the way to go, because this way, though it may be a little convoluted, you will learn the most.
Option 3: Get An Accountability Partner
Is lack of motivation one of the reasons (or maybe the only reason) you find change difficult?
In this case an accountability partner can make a world of difference.
Normally this will make your progress quicker and stop you from making excuses.
Because someone is watching you and then all the poor excuses fall away.
When you are only left with really genuine reasons for falling (and often there are none), you’ll see – progress will be so much quicker.
I’m going to write a little more about accountability later – let me know if this is something you want to hear more about.
Option 4: Get Some Training, A Mentor, Some Consulting/Advice Or A Coach
All slightly different but satisfy essentially the same purpose:
to move you forward quicker with the help of someone who has been there (or with the right targeted material that you need).
You could call this your last resort, but it’s always an option.
It’s become a bit of a cliche but something coaches often say is ‘Investment in yourself is the best investment you’ll ever make’. The thing is, that’s handy for them because if you buy that then you are more likely to buy their services.
I happen to believe it’s true though, I just have a slightly different perspective and a couple of words of advice – first of all, taking time out to learn something, even if you are doing it on your own is investing in yourself (which is why I like Option 2 above) because time is the most precious thing we have and you are paying with that. The only question is how much time you have to invest.
If you decide that you want to get their quicker and it’s not motivation you’re lacking but resources (i.e. there may be some things you could learn from training, a mentor or a coach which you will never find out for yourself no matter how much time you have) – then just make sure that whoever you turn to has the experience to back up whatever it is you’re buying from them (so they can answer your questions when the material doesn’t) – because there’s plenty of regurgitated, stolen and recycled material out there (don’t get me started on that one). The good news is that it’s fairly easy to check someone’s experience these days.
Nor Should It Be
I also wrote above ‘… and nor should it be.’
Often something that’s really worth doing isn’t going to be easy – big changes aren’t easy (though we can make them easier by breaking them into small changes) – changing long established habits isn’t always easy (which is why I wrote no less than three articles on this subject and that’s mainly where the ‘not as easy as you make it sound’ comments have come from) – coping with changes that happen to you or around you is often not easy.
But that difficulty often forms part of the value when you come out of the other side.
Would climbing a mountain feel so good if it was easy? Running a marathon? How about changing someone’s life for the better? If it was really easy, would they place as much value on that change?
p.s. here are the habits articles I’m referring to in case you didn’t see those already:
How To Learn ANYTHING (by Understanding How We Form Habits – Pt 1 of 2)
How To Learn ANYTHING (by Understanding How We Form Habits – Pt 2 of 2)
Why Habits Are Awesome + Follow-Up On The ‘Give Up One Thing Challenge’ (1 of 2)
Personally, from the above list I prefer number 2, but that’s because I’m usually in no particular rush and enjoy the experience, experiments and learning new things every day.
If you want quicker results, go for option 3 or 4 depending upon whether the main thing stopping you is lack of motivation or lack of resources.
So there you have it, not always easy but completely do-able and if you do struggle you always have options.
Just please don’t give up with the ‘It’s not as easy as you say it is‘ excuse and do nothing about it! At least, let me know, drop me an email and if I can help you, I will.