Here in this the beginning of the 3rd week of January is where once optimistically forged resolutions begin to fade. People who undoubtably stone-faced promised at the start of the year to give up sugar, exercise more, be less selfish, or try something scary likely find themselves back in their old habits. I sure hope not, but according to statistics you're likely doomed.
Why do we then put ourselves through such misery if we know it will probably end in failure?
Us humans are a resourceful bunch. We have the ability - for better or worse - to frequently re-evaluate our behaviours. This is an important adaptation because it provides a way to benchmark our performance against the norm. This gives us feedback to help adjust our patterns to improve our ourselves in relation to the collective. In short, we learn to fit in better.
Fitting in is important because it keeps us from being an unwanted outlier. We really want to be liked by others. When we're obese, angry or selfish we stand out and are susceptible to being judged. For most of us, we just want to be the best person we can be so we take a stand to make changes.
However, our dreams fade into darkness when we realize that the changes we want require much more effort than we can muster. Besides, we were not that bad before, right?
Making change is hard, sometimes excruciatingly hard. It requires commitment and most importantly, grit. In all things worth doing the pain and darkness of the effort almost always give way to the better. We just need to recognize that our brains are powerful deceptive. Our imagination can powerfully propel us to a glorious vision where our dreams are realized. The reality part of our brain doesn't often kick in until the real pain begins.