You’re doing it wrong.

That’s how people let their loved ones know that they care, of course. That’s why so many people have a hard time maintaining new habits that they know are healthy when they are around their oldest friends or family.

Culture that has developed over a long period of time within a peer group or a family has inertia.

There’s an unspoken rule book called, “This is How We’ve Always Done It.”

When we’re together, this is what we eat. This is how we move. This is what we talk about. If you’re not doing it like we’ve always done it, you’re harshing the mellow. The easy movement of conversation or planning a meal gets impinged as it approaches its typical range of motion.

When you start to make a change that challenges the status quo of a long-standing group dynamic, you will be met with resistance.

You’re the first in a group to go gluten-free.

You’re the first in a group to abstain from alcohol for a period of time.

You’re the first to authentically share your feelings with others in front of the group.

Look for the resistance to surface in such forms as sarcasm, disinterest, humor, disbelief, or concern. All these strategies are attempts to communicate the same message,

You’re doing it wrong.”

But on a deeper level, what they’re really saying is,

“This is new for me, I care about you and the health of our group, and I’m scared.”

The most challenging aspect of making change is doing so when those around you don’t understand, and are scared of the unknown. The stories people tell themselves in the face of a loved doing something different can be toxic.

If you and the other person used to eat the same foods and you decide to start eating better, does that make what they still eat wrong? If what they eat is wrong, are they wrong? If they’re wrong will you still want to eat with them? Spend time with them? Care about them?

This same moment that can trigger toxic thoughts can also trigger an adaptation.

A member of the group, who used to do it how we’ve always done it, realizes a better way to experience health. The self-advocate exposes her new method of eating, or moving, or thinking, or recuperating to the culture. There is resistance. The group responds with the equivalent of an immune response to an invader as it advocates for homeostasis provided by the status quo. If the carrier of the new idea overcomes the resistance and the idea survives the immune attack, it spreads through the culture and a shift occurs.

These are the seeds of change.

This is how we’ve always done it…

This is how we’ve always started a revolution.