This is not a topic I've ever heard discussed in the health, fitness and wellness industry but I believe part of the reason why most people have a difficult time sustaining change is they've not been equipped to embody the grieving process associated with change.
When we think of grieving, we tend to think of the loss of a loved one. In her book, On Death and Dying, Swiss-American psychiatrist, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross has observed grief with many forms of loss: job, relationship, addiction, rejection, infertility, etc.
Ironically, loss is ½ of what transformation means.
Understandably, there's a lot of excitement around leading our preferred lives. In the pursuit of becoming your "best self," there are subtle tones of "betrayal," and "abandonment" of your current and soon-to-be previous self and that dynamic loss must be processed to successfully come out the other side.
Consider all the ways your current self has served you...
1. Has through thick and thin, been there for you without reservation
2. Has gotten you where you are so you're able to take "the next step"
3. Has created a routine that's offered you a level of certainty and safety
Kubler-Ross defined The 5 Stages of Grief as: Denial → Anger → Bargaining → Depression → Acceptance, and immediately you can sense some of these states of MindBodySpirit as it relates to evolution. Here's how I believe they apply to change...
1. Denial is a form of rejecting reality, and disbelieving change is necessary
2. Anger is experienced when denial cannot continue, and reality must be met
3. Bargaining is a negotiation to reform one's lifestyle in lieu of a complete change
4. Depression occurs once bargaining is deemed ineffective and there's a recognition that change is absolutely necessary
5. Acceptance occurs when due to its inevitability, change is fully embraced
It's incredible how stubborn the ego is to change, especially when it's perceived as an obligation; which supports Condition for Life's approach towards learning how to see change as an opportunity. Otherwise, you're bound to follow the path of least resistance and remain subscribed to known misery.
It's important to understand these stages are not presented as a rigid sequence of exactly how grief is experienced but more so a generous insight that highlights the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of creating your preferred reality.
Ultimately, this process rightly reveals the pattern of reality: loss and renewal or spiritually stated, death and resurrection. When we contemplate change, we mostly consider the gains related to change but resist losing anything in the process. The hardest part of change is surrendering control and understanding griefs role in your metamorphosis prepares you to become whom you are capable of becoming.
"The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well." Elisabeth Kubler-Ross