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Why Trying To Change Is A Waste Of Time

Written by: Doron Willis, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


How many times have you attempted to change certain aspects of your lifestyle or cease from doing a bad habit only to find yourself resorting back to your original ways a few months later? Probably too many times to recall. Some may say it is because of a lack of will, or a lack of discipline, poor motivation, or no sense of direction. As much as these factors can influence you in a number of ways, unfortunately, they are not the causes of you remaining the same whenever you try to change.

To help you better understand this logic, let's first take a look at what it means to change. When individuals attempt to change, their approach is usually externally focused or results-oriented. Let's say for example that you want to lose weight, and you are doing all the things that help you lose weight such as eating healthier, maxing out your effort when working out, and getting proper rest. Now the truth is, you are likely to lose weight by sticking to this commitment. However, unless you have also been working on becoming more aware and understanding the reasons why you tend to struggle with evolving into the person you desire to be, that weight lost is bound to be short-lived because you are working from the outside in.

As a licensed clinician and mindset coach, I find that many of my clients, which includes professional athletes, CEO’s, and entrepreneurs, seek my assistance because they have tried to change an external aspect about themselves only to return back to square one. You see the majority of these individuals have been led to believe that their focus needs to only be centered on the outcome, which makes it difficult for them to have consistent success. Lasting change, or shall I say transformation starts from the inside out and not the other way around. Transformation is all about learning and understanding not only the process but yourself. To keep that weight off or to eliminate those bad habits you have to go within yourself, and begin to examine and understand your core beliefs, the narrative you have about yourself, and the triggers that cause you to go back to an old way of being. You see, the key to transformation is awareness. Awareness of those beliefs and perspectives that are controlling you on a subconscious level. Spiritual teacher Anthony De Mello’s once stated,

“What you are aware of, you control. What you are unaware of controls you. You are always a slave to what you’re not aware of. When you’re aware of it, you’re free from it. You only change what you understand and are aware of.”

So the question now becomes, how does one transform so that the effort you exert towards improving your life is not temporary?

1. Be Curious

Take the time to inquire within yourself on how you came to develop your bad habits and unhealthy ways of being. Questions like, “What story do I keep telling myself about myself?”, “Are my behaviors rooted in shame and guilt?”, “How did I come to believe what I believe, and is this belief helping or hindering my transformation?” Also, explore the emotional, mental, and environmental triggers that prevent you from achieving your goals. Brene Brown once expressed that curiosity is an act of vulnerability and courage and that we should always be striving to know more. With that being said, you cannot permanently fixed something about yourself that you don’t fully understand. Get curious and stay curious.

2. Be Open-Minded

I understand how difficult it can be to break free from the ideologies that you were told to never deviate from, but being open to adopting a new perspective can both elevate and transform your life for the better. I remember first embarking on my journey to self-discovery and being afraid to let go of the belief system that I had known all of my life because a part of me was feeling like I was betraying my family and community. However, the more I explored within myself I came to recognize that although my initial belief system served me well, my spirit was yearning for something deeper. My willingness to be open has led me to being in a profession that was never on my list of things to be in growing up, which has allowed me to help so many people through their personal crisis. It also has helped me develop relationships with individuals from all walks of life with who I would have been very critical and judgmental towards had I maintained my original ideology. Being open will help you gain new insights, increase wisdom, and create experiences that can further help you understand who you are at the core of your existence.

3. Develop An Attitude Of Gratitude

Yes, believe it or not, adjusting your attitude to one that expresses gratitude can help you transform into the person you want to be. The moment I realized how my attitude impacted my altitude, I begin to cultivate a daily routine of expressing my gratefulness which has brought me almost effortless results and transformation. Being grateful can be challenging when you are on an inner journey and coming to discover parts of yourself that you do not particularly care for, but remember, it is your perspective and the meaning that you give to the experiences that cause you to either be grateful or ungrateful. I have had several life experiences where I was quick to blame things outside of myself for my feelings, only to later become grateful for those experiences as they were only showing me parts of myself that still needed healing. When you genuinely operate from a place of gratitude you deepen the process of self-discovery and before you know it, you are living and operating as that ideal version of yourself that you were trying to change into. This time, it will be everlasting because it was done from the inside out.

I like to keep the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly in mind. It appears that the mindset of a caterpillar is one that says it is willing to do whatever it takes to transform its life into something more beautiful, even if it means going inside a small like cave and turning its world upside down just to see things from a different point of view. And, once a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly no matter what life throws at it from that point on, it does not resort back to crawling on the ground because it has developed an awareness and understanding of what it is on a deeper level. And on top of that, the world will not be able to see how beautiful it is if it goes back to being on the ground. Just like the caterpillar, you also were born with wings and all you have to do is be willing to enter into your inner cave so that the world can marvel at your beautiful transformation upon your return.

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Doron Willis, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Doron Willis, LMFT, MA. Doron is a Mental and Sports Psychotherapist helping individuals with a competitive spirit uncover and breakthrough their mental blocks in order to foster resiliency and perform at an optimal level in life consistently. Doron is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of California, a former Division I collegiate athlete, and a certified fitness and sports performance trainer, so he knows all about the importance of cultivating a strong and sound mind. Doron specializes in life transitions, resiliency, sports performance, men's issues, and helping individuals find meaning and purpose for their life.

Doron earned his Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology with a concentration in marriage & family therapy from Phillips Graduate University, and his Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences from Arizona State University. Additionally, he is trained in EMDR therapy from the EMDR Institute and holds a certificate in Sports & Exercise Psychology from California State University Dominguez Hills, and a certification as a Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES) from the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

Doron is also the author of "The IT Factors For Athletic Dominance: Identifying the traits of elite athletes.



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