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Why is it so Damn Hard to Change?

Stashed in: Brain, Change, Becoming

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Rebecca Skoot wrote this in Oprah magazine in January 2007:

When I began this quest to find out why it’s so hard to change unhealthy behaviors, I talked with more than a dozen scientists. Each one laughed and said some version of this: “If I could answer that question, I’d win a Nobel Prize and have drug companies lining up at my door for miles.”

But the truth is, scientists have uncovered some very important things.

To begin with, change is monumentally difficult. Some people can just wake up one morning, decide to change, and stick with it. But many, perhaps most, can’t. The reason may be genetic; it may be the way you’re raised; perhaps some people have stronger frontal lobes than others. Scientists still aren’t sure.

What they do know is, if you’re one of those people who struggle, that’s nothing to beat yourself up over—it’s just the way your brain works. But it’s also not an excuse to toss in the towel and say, Well, I don’t have enough dopamine, or My bad pathways are too strong.

As Bruce Wexler told me, “The more we understand what we’re up against, the more we can develop strategies that will help us work with our brains to change successfully.

Change requires rewiring the brain.

This article discusses some strategies for doing so, but it's not an exact science.

For every person, change happens differently.

Your posts have been consistent that the first thing to do if you're going to change yourself is change your environment:

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