This post of Seth Godin’s Priming the pump of efficiency talks about the hit your efficiency takes when you switch to a new way of doing doings. On a short-term scale or a medium-term scale, you would be much better off sticking to your current well-known, well-polished system. On a long term scale, if you don’t change you’ll be worse off than someone who does.
It’s this short-term loss that I find to be a big obstacle in changing myself. I’m losing my half-hour of sleep, or the taste of sweet food, or a comfortable mental pattern and in return I feel worse off than I was before.
I find that what works best for me in getting through that valley is small steps. Some people find that a radical change works best: “I will not eat another chocolate bar”. For me, a slow change seems to lead to longer lasting results: “I ate 5 chocolate bars last week, this week I’ll only eat 4″.
I’m hoping that as I get older and wiser I find better ways of getting through the times when change means short term loss in pursuit of long term gains.