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Overcoming Resistance to Healthier Living

WoodsMushrooms-on-treeMany people desire better health but find themselves stuck in a cycle of resistance to change. Consider these scenarios – “You don’t want to suffer from type 2 diabetes but also don’t want to change your diet;” “You wish to improve your balance but avoid exercising your feet;” “You dislike back and neck pain but can’t commit to seeing an Activator® chiropractor;” “You struggle with anxiety and depression but aren’t willing to meditate.” These examples highlight a common struggle – a resistance to adopting healthier behaviours.

People may resist changing their lifestyles and thoughts to improve their health for several reasons, such as

  1. Comfort and Habit – Humans are creatures of habit. We tend to stick to what we know and what feels comfortable. Changing established habits requires effort and can be uncomfortable. It’s easier to maintain the status quo than to venture into the unknown.
  2. Immediate Gratification – Unhealthy behaviours often provide immediate pleasure or convenience. For instance, fast food is quick and satisfying, while healthy eating habits may take more time and effort to develop. The benefits of healthy behaviours, such as improved well-being and disease prevention, are often long-term and not immediately visible, making them less enticing.
  3. Perceived Difficulty - Lifestyle changes can seem daunting. Healthy eating, regular exercise, and quitting smoking may seem too difficult or time-consuming. This perception may deter people from even attempting to make changes, as the mountain seems too high to climb.
  4. Lack of Knowledge – Not understanding the connection between behaviours and health can be a significant barrier. Some people might not realise how their diet and lifestyle affect their risk of diabetes or how exercise can improve balance. Additionally, they may not know how to change their habits or thoughts effectively, leading to a sense of helplessness.
  5. Psychological Barriers – Fear of failure, lack of motivation, and feelings of inadequacy (the belief in one’s ability to succeed) often prevent people from attempting change. These psychological barriers can be powerful deterrents, creating a mental block that is hard to overcome.
  6. Social and Environmental Factors – Peer pressure, cultural norms, and environmental influences play significant roles in shaping behaviours. Plenty of unhealthy food, societal expectations, and the behaviour of those around us make it harder to adopt healthier habits.
  7. Stress and Mental Health – Chronic stress and mental health issues drain the energy and motivation needed to make and sustain changes. When dealing with stress or mental health challenges, the effort required to change habits can feel overwhelming.

These factors combine to create a strong resistance to change, even when people understand their current lifestyle increases their risk of illness and injury. Overcoming this resistance requires addressing the underlying reasons and finding strategies to make healthier choices more accessible and appealing.

Some Strategies for Overcoming Resistance

DunesResistance to change won’t happen overnight, but it can happen. Here are some suggestions to help start the process:

  • Start Small – begin with small, manageable changes that are easier to maintain and gradually build on these changes to create lasting habits.
  • Seek Support – build a support system, whether that’s friends, family, or a professional, to help motivate and encourage you.
  • Educate Yourself – learn about the benefits of healthy behaviours and how to implement them effectively, empowering you to make better choices.
  • Set Realistic Goals – set achievable goals that are specific and measurable. Celebrate your progress to stay motivated.
  • Address Psychological Barriers – work on building your feelings of confidence and overcoming the fear of failure. Consider speaking with a therapist if needed.
  • Create a Positive Environment – surround yourself with positive influences and make your environment conducive to healthy choices.
  • Manage Stress – develop stress management techniques to help you stay focused and motivated on your health journey.

Breaking Down the Barriers to Healthy Living

Understanding the reasons behind resistance and employing strategies to overcome them allows everyone to take steps towards a healthier and more fulfilling life. Need help? Reach out to us for assistance.


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