CONTINUING ON THE PATH OF CHANGE
I have lost count of how many times I have attempted to make some kind of change in my life. Promises I have made to myself. Swearing that I would stay committed. Whether I was starting a new workout, eating healthier, or beginning a new creative endeavor. Typically, I begin with gusto, I remain focused for a few days, maybe even a week or so and then I would just stop and fall back into my comfort zone. “Welcome back to your regular scheduled programming.”
Then I would feel like a quitter. A loser. Mr. Undisciplined. I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.
What I have discovered is that I was starting change but couldn’t seem to sustain the change. I was initially excited but then that excitement would fizzle out. Why? What was preventing me from continuing to change?
I think I have figured out some of the reasons why I wasn’t able to maintain change.
ENSURE YOU ARE MOVING TOWARDS YOUR GOALS
INSTEAD OF RUNNING FROM YOUR FEARS
There is a very distinct difference between moving towards our goals and running from our fears. When we are running from our fears, we are like a ship searching for shelter, taking refuge in the first harbor we find. Anything to get out of the storm. Our desperation dictates our choice. Instead of enduring a little more, we settle. We decided that although the harbor may not be good, it’s good enough. As long as we are out of the storm. As long as we aren’t being tossed around in the waves of change.
However, when we move in the direction of our goals and have a deep sense of purpose, our mindset shifts and we have a clearer picture of where we want to harbor. I can already hear “Sometimes you have to take what you can get.” I agree. But you don’t have to. We all have a choice. We can run for cover every time the seas get rough and we are out of our comfort zone or we can focus on our goals, endure and push through.
Know what you want rather than what you don’t want.
You must decide what you want. Something specific to move towards. The reality is that most of us focus on what we don’t want in our lives or don’t want to experience.
- I DON’T WANT TO BE ALONE ANYMORE.
- I DON’T WANT TO BE OVERWEIGHT.
- I DON’T WANT TO BE BROKE ANYMORE.
The reason this is so important is that we gradually create what we focus on in our lives. The key takeaway here is that where you put your attention is where you get your results.
What are you focusing on?
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
– JACK CANFIELD –
CONTINUE TO OVERCOME YOUR LIMITING BELIEFS
The biggest obstacle I needed to overcome in order to embrace the changes that have occurred my life has been my limiting beliefs. To this day, I struggle with my limiting beliefs. I question myself (out of fear). I doubt myself (out of fear). I critique myself (out of fear). I tell myself awful things. I say things to myself that I would never say to anyone else. The good news is that I have learned that by providing a safe space for my fears to congregate and have a bitch session about me, I allow my thoughts to be heard. I can then acknowledge them and move on. I simply move past them.
How do I move past my limiting beliefs you might ask? I do the exact opposite of what my limiting beliefs are telling me about myself. I choose to walk through the fire of lies my FEARS would have me believe. I step out into uncertainty, I ignore my inner critic; as it tells me I have no business being this far away from home (my comfort zone). I choose to not let my limiting beliefs to hold me back. I refuse to let my limiting beliefs dictate how I will interact with the world. I have realized I am the only one that can create a new dialogue. One of empowerment, strength, compassion and confidence.
ACKNOWLEDGE AND ACCEPT
An integral step to changing our lives, we must acknowledge and accept where our lives are right now. Once we recognize and accept that our current patterns have put us EXACTLY where we are right now, we can then begin to shift our mindset and move towards our goals.
If we use the same old ways of thinking we cannot expect to yield new results. We are dynamic creatures that are constantly evolving and growing. We, therefore, need to formulate a gameplan to move towards our goals and this will require a shift in mindset. By restructuring our mindset, we open ourselves up to new beliefs and possibilities our lives hold.
PIGGYBACK ON AN ESTABLISHED HABIT
Instead of instituting the “cold turkey” method by throwing yourself headlong into a new regiment, use an already established habit as a trigger to remind you to do the new behavior. If you have an established routine, simply incorporate this new element into the routine. If you want to meditate, do it immediately after your brush your teeth or take a shower. The association or attachment of this new behavior to an existing one will make it easier for your brain to integrate the new habit.
“IT ONLY TAKES ONE PERSON
TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE: YOU.”
– RUTH CASEY –
REMOVE TEMPTATIONS, DISTRACTIONS AND PREPARE FOR DISRUPTIONS
Choices. It’s simple. It all comes down to choices. Temptations are a daily occurrence that stands in your way as you move towards positive change. We all have the choice to reach for the apple or the chocolate bar. But, if we don’t have the chocolate bar in the house we increase the probability of picking up the apple.
We know our bad habits. We understand them and how they work. The problem is when you accept them. We introduced these habits into our lives and we have the choice to remove them. Just like an unwelcomed house guest, you can politely be asked to leave, or they can be thrown out. Either way, your bad habits are a distraction and need to be removed.
Your ability to manage your mindset will greatly assist you as you begin removing temptations, distractions and preparing for disruptions. Shifting your mindset will empower you to recognize what your triggers are. What tempts you? What distracts you? And what disrupts your life. If you don’t take an active role in addressing temptation, distraction, and disruptions, you will eventually become a slave to the whims of these areas of your life and will continue to hold you back and keep you stagnant.
HAVE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
We are all guilty of losing sight of the beauty and wonder around us, and yet there is real value in being able to “get back to it”. For me, the best way to “remember” these things is to be grateful. At the end of every day, I take the time to reflect on the joyful activities or events I experienced during the day. I focus on appreciating everything and everyone in my life. Being grateful ensures I don’t lose perspective.
By being grateful and giving thanks, we are able to re-train our minds to appreciate what we have, instead of focusing on what we don’t have. Instituting an attitude of gratitude balances us. When life goes “pear” shaped, being grateful reminds us that we have a choice to view our life through the lens of scarcity or one of fulfillment and that fulfillment ultimately comes from within.
Any change we make in our lives takes time. I always think back to my first few months of yoga, I asked the instructor after class, “why am I not progressing?” The instructor looked at me and a smile began to appear at the corners of her mouth. She asked me how old I was. I told her. She said my body has been functioning a certain way for my entire life and now I was asking it to change. SMACK. I GOT IT. I realized that just because I wanted to be able to do a certain posture, didn’t mean it was going to happen in the timeframe I wanted. I had to let go of my ego and trust the process. If I wanted to improve, I would have to put in the time and trust the process. Developing patience is much like physical exercise because it requires persistence and effort.
CHANGE IS A GOOD THING. CONTINUE CHANGING.
Change is constant. Change is a good. Change is essential as a human being. We are not static. We are dynamic creatures. Our goals. Our thoughts. Our views. Our passions. They all change. We change. We must change. It is essential for living life to the fullest. Evolve. We all must learn to increase our adaptability and agility and how we embrace life changes. It’s a choice. Continue on the path of change.
As I close out my blog post I would like to continue with my tradition of signing off with a song.
Are you in your late 30's or 40's and thinking back on how exactly you wound up in the career you are in today? Chances are if you are like me, you took the safe path. You were told to get a job with benefits, a retirement plan and not rock the boat. Work your way up. Move up the corporate ladder. Just work hard and when you are done, retire.
Yup, you played it safe and now, you are questioning what you are doing and where you are going?
Let me ask you, do you remember when you were excited about life's possibilities? When you believed you could do anything. Do you ever wonder what happened? When did you lose touch with your passion? Have you given up on your hopes and dreams? Or, have they simply gone astray.
Sign up to for the Stop the Pity Party. Restart Your Passion 7 Day Change Challenge and begin to rekindle your passion. Reclaim your beliefs to create the life you have the responsibility to live. A life of fulfillment, possibility, wonder, and passion.