Real, consistent, forever change is hard. It’s hard to stop doing something that you have done millions of times just like it’s hard to start doing something consistently you’ve only done 5 or 6 times. Both of these things are true but what makes it even more difficult is we expect that we should be able to change easier, better, with less mess.
This, however, is not how we are wired. We are wired to be habitual creatures. If all our habits were good, positive and life-giving that would be great. But most of us have more than one less-than-beneficial habit because we are adaptive species. We learn how to be what we think will get us safety, love and belonging and then we repeat those habits no matter how harmful they may be in our adult lives. Some of us learn that when we eat brownies, we feel better, so soon when we are stressed we crave brownies. Our brain has figured out this brings relief so we push to get the brownie to end the “pain.” However, if we are going through a period with exponential stress, soon, our stress-relief process starts to pack on the pounds, which compounds our stress.
Some of us have found relief from the feelings of potentially failing, embarrassment, feeling out of control (and many others) by overthinking, over-planning, over-analyzing so we stay in our heads so we don’t have to be in our bodies, where the feelings are. But soon we are not able to navigate any of our emotions so that leads to thinking all the time, planning every single detail, every eventuality, analyzing and reconsidering every decision. And we cannot find peace because we are not able to resolve the emotions that drive these behaviors because those are scarier than the behaviors we are trying to change.
All of this to say, change is HARD and it will require us to lay down our way of being in order to get what we say we want. Are you ready? Even if you are not ready, are you going to jump in?
We say, yes!
And this is what happens, we commit to meditating every morning, giving up sweets, working less overtime, finishing a job and letting go of the second-guessing BUT the mind will offer you up 10 million reasons why you CANNOT POSSIBLY take 10 minutes to meditate, desperately need to eat the brownie, or just have to check your email at 2 am.
What I think many of us on this #last90days challenge have experienced is that the desire to change needs to be stronger than the desire to be comfortable. Every day that I don’t drink a Diet Pepsi, I get up an hour earlier, go to bed on time, or change the way I approach a challenge I am asking myself this question whether implicitly or explicitly:
Are you willing to change your way of being in order to get what you want?
Am I willing to let go of all the habits that keep me comfortable, which also keep me stuck?
Can I hold some of the crazy stories I tell myself loosely and entertain the idea that they are just stories?
Some of you may have had an idea of something you’ve been wanting to change and answered, yes, to all of the above questions. Now what?
In the advice of Nicole Lepera (check her out here), start by learning to keep one small promise to yourself each day. And don’t just know you will get resistance, expect it. In fact, even welcome it.
If tomorrow morning you are planning to stretch before you start your day, set the bar low. Commit to 2 minutes. Make it simple by pre-selecting the stretches you will do and set a timer. And when that flood of thoughts comes rolling in about why you can’t do it, say to yourself “Oh there’s that little flood of weird thoughts G was talking about.” And then stretch anyway. Keep the promise. Keep it today. And then do it again tomorrow, the day after that and the day after that.
Are you ready to let go of all the ways you keep yourself stuck and set yourself free?
Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G