Why changes stick in groups.

We all want to change something.

If we sit down and do a personal inventory, we can usually come up with at least one thing we would like to change. If you are anything like me, then you can come up with many things.

Why does change seem so hard?

Most changes are habit changes. Habits are ingrained patterns of action containing a cue, routine, and reward.

Over time, as the cue, routine, and reward are repeated, we become less aware of the routine because it no longer takes dedicated thought and will power. The action simply happens after the cue, and proceeds to the reward.

Example: you drive by your favorite restaurant, you think about the taste of the food, and you end up stopping or going the next day. Driving by the restaurant and the thought of the taste is the cue. The feeling of eating the meal you desired is the reward. Going to the restaurant is the routine.

This pattern is why sometimes we say, “I swear I was trying not to ______, and then I caught myself doing that very thing.”

How, then, do we change habits?

Since habits are automated, we need to become connected to something geared towards the new habit we want. Simply thinking about a new habit does not make it form.

We need to begin replacing a former habit with a new desired habit.

Group dynamics just happen to help us stick to what we may not uphold ourselves.

One cool group dynamic is group identity. Simply put, when we associate with a group we desire to be a part of, we begin to desire to act in accordance with the group.

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When we want to improve our fitness, we are much more likely to succeed when we start with a group whose characteristics are those we wish to have ourselves.

Same with time management, money management, quality of life, etc.

Simply evaluate who you hang out with and see the correlations between the habits they have and the habits you have. If you notice the habits you do not want are the habits of those you hang out with then you are hanging out with the wrong people.

Groups can help us move forward and can equally pull us back.

Define the habits you want and join the groups going where you want to go.