…and the chances are you won’t, if what you’re doing is changing your behaviour. To begin with, at least. But that’s okay because, as with so many things written in this blog, it’s all part of the process. The title of this post comes from a saying I often heard when I was growing up, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.‘ It comes in very handy when we start to change our habits because, as Karaj once told me:
‘The first time you do something to change your habits, it won’t work.‘
Habits form because we’ve been doing the same things for years; acting out patterns of behaviour our entire lives. Do things often enough and they begin to occur automatically, unconsciously, creating familiar situations with familiar outcomes. When we try to do something differently, we are most likely doing something we’ve never done before, so it’s not surprising things don’t work. It’s the opposite of beginner’s luck so, on the surface, it’s discouraging, but if we assume we have a strong intention to change and grow, then we can be empowered by it.
We know it’s going to happen, so we can relax, smile to ourselves and proceed anyway. Knowing things will not work straight away helps us to overcome the initial lack of success and encourages us to keep practicing. The more we practice, the better we become. Soon we experience the small successes which help us to move forward and, steadily, we begin to form new, more effective habits.
A man I knew, who usually withdrew and isolated himself from others whenever he was down, was advised to contact his friends during such periods. The first time he did so, none of the friends were available. It knocked him back and he saw the whole episode as proof that he needn’t have bothered. He was downhearted until he was told, ‘It’s normal. Try again.‘