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Is it harder to change as you get older?

You’ve probably heard the expression “set in her ways”. Or maybe “You can’t teach an old dog a new trick”. Usually you use it to refer to someone who is older. You may be surprised to notice that you have become resistant to change as you get older.

But for many women change is desirable. They may need to make changes to lose weight, improve their health or to look and feel better about themselves. 

Why is it harder to change when you get older?

Once you reach midlife you have probably established many patterns and habits that you don’t even think about. You also are likely to surround yourself with people that have similar habits, and similar beliefs to yours.

You may not believe that change is possible for you now.

One reason that changes is harder when you get older is that you don’t believe change is possible. This may be because you’ve tried in the past and haven’t been successful, or it may be because you just don’t feel that change is possible for you now. 

You may not have the support of your family and friends as you get older.

As you get older, your friends and family may become less active. Even if you want to become more active, it is less likely to happen when you don’t have a support system. If a friend that you used to run with complains about her knees, then you might meet for coffee instead. If your teenage children would rather play video games than go for a bike ride you probably don’t fight it anymore.

You may not know where to start

You may be wondering what type of exercise you should be doing now (I have an article about this coming soon), or how your diet should be changing. You may be confused by all the online noise about the latest dieting fads. Your friends may be discussing the new superfoods. It can become so overwhelming that you become paralyzed with indecision. 

How can you make changes when you get older

Why change is hard image

You need to believe change is possible

Being able to make changes starts with the belief that change is possible. I’m not a believer of manifesting the things you want, but if you don’t believe that change is possible, you will never do anything about it. 

Start by imagining the changed you. How is your life better? Do you look better? Do you have energy to go on long hikes with your family? Do you feel a sense of accomplishment because you are consistently getting exercise?

You need to be ready, willing and able

I know it sounds simple enough, but these three items are key to you making changes. Rather than motivation, which most people actually have plenty of, being ready, willing and able is more important.

Many women put off making changes until the time is right, after vacation, after the holiday season, etc. ON the other hand, if you are reading this, you have probably decided that now is the time to change.

You also must be willing to make changes. What will it take to make you willing to let go of old mindsets, routines and beliefs? 

Are you able to change? What new skills do you need to learn to make change possible? You may need to learn a new cooking skill or learn how to use proper technique with weight training. 

Understand that there will be setbacks

Making changes is not a linear process and the results of your changes are likely far from a straight line. You will have days when you do everything right and days that you fall back to old habits. And some times even when you do everything right, you won’t see the results you expect.

Instead of being surprised by setbacks, have a plan. If you didn’t exercise last week because life got in the way, then jump back in this week. It doesn’t mean you have to do twice as much this week. Think of it as a rest week (which can be an important part of your exercise plan) and you may find that you have more energy and feel stronger this week than you did before your break. If your setback involves eating something that you feel you shouldn’t, then just move on from this. Don’t beat yourself up or decide you have to starve the next day to make up for it.

You need to know where to start

So many women come to me for nutrition or fitness advice saying they don’t know where to start. That is why I created the Healthy Changes program. This program helps to take the guesswork out of making changes. I don’t use nutrition fads or exercise gimmicks. Just simple, proven techniques that will help you achieve lasting results. 

If you are not ready for this program, then check out my Facebook group for some ideas.

The important thing is making changes that stick

If you try to do everything at once, this can be too overwhelming and it not likely to stick. Make gradual small changes that don’t seem like a big deal and you will be more likely to have long term success. I use the idea of making small changes in my Healthy Changes program. Every 2 weeks you add one change that you are ready, willing and able to make. You can find out more about this program here.

MV healthy changes membership

Find a support network

You may not be able to count on the same support network as you did before. If that is the case, then look for a new support network. This may be a Facebook Group, a group dedicated to changes (like the Healthy Changes Membership) or joining a fitness class (in person or online ). 

Summary

As you get older making change becomes even more important. You may need to change your diet because you have the early warning signs of a chronic disease or you may want to add exercise to your life to help prevent falls as you get older. The Healthy Changes program can help to guide you through changes in a simple but effective way.

 

Why change is hard

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK83771/

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