There are a lot of things that can improve quality of life. Get more sleep. Meditate. Exercise. Eat a balanced diet.
The reality: Very often we don’t do these sensible things because we’re busy doing the exact opposite. One more cat video before bedtime. Sit quietly? No, I’ve got things to do and places to be (but not the gym — maybe tomorrow, when I’m not so tired). And while I’m at it, might as well finish that last bit of ice cream in the freezer. Waste not, want not.
There’s a lot of entertainment value in our vices. We look forward to unsavoury treats, and even more so savoury ones like that last scoop of Butterscotch Ripple. (I’m more of a Maple Walnut connoisseur myself.)
This causes problems whenever we’re trying to change something. Whenever there’s an attachment, we fight anything that tries to take it away from us. We possess the attachment, and it possesses us. The idea of depriving ourselves feels like a punishment because we’re losing something we value. The value itself may be questionable, but our relationship to it is real.
In order to achieve lasting change, two things have to happen: The old way has to be questioned and devalued, while the new way has to be accepted. It’s rarely an instantaneous process, so there’ll be a transition period where the outgoing habit still holds power and the incoming one just hasn’t been done long enough to become a habit. All you can do is keep trying, keep doing — remembering all the while that you chose to do it because it’s something you value.