Writer: Farida Ibrahim

Editor: Doaa Saady

How many times did you promise yourself to become more productive, or to break a toxic habit? How many times did people promise you to change, then gave you nothing in return? Does that mean that the adage, “A leopard can’t change his spots,” is true? Not at all. Assuming that people can’t change is assuming that they aren’t capable of positive growth and development.

It is the equivalent of imprisoning them in their past selves, mindsets, and mistakes even though it has been proven by numerous studies that they are cable of freeing themselves from them. Though certain aspects of your personality are indeed programmed to be the way that they are, it’s not true that you can’t modify, alter, or tweak them. However, you can’t just snap your fingers and expect to throw familiar, well-established patterns behind your back.

Even when those patterns continuously let you down and leave you in situations you never wanted to end up in. The key to successful change is patience and dedicated effort. First, you need to hold yourself accountable, own up to your mistakes, accept that you are not perfect, and identify what needs to be worked on. Then, prepare to make the change-whether it’s to your diet, lifestyle, or coping mechanisms- and start implementing it.

Next comes the hardest part, maintenance. Make a list of all the reasons you began this Reviewing this list whenever you struggle can make a big difference in your determination to stick with it. No matter how difficult the journey becomes, stick with it.

But keep in mind that change isn’t a linear path; you are prone to slip back into your old habits. That doesn’t mean you failed if anything it is proof that you’re trying. Good things take time. And as long as you’re determined to put in the blood and tears to change your life, don’t let anyone convince you that you won’t be able to.

Change is a mindset before it is anything else, so chase away those demons that claim it to be impossible: “it’s too hard”, “you are who you are”, “and it requires too much effort”. Such a mindset will sabotage your efforts before you even begin. So clear your head and start today, now. Ask yourself, what is one thing you’ve always wanted to improve? And do it. I mean you have to start somewhere, right? So make this your beginning. The birth of a new, improved version of yourself.