So you’ve made up your mind to eliminate a bad habit. Or build a good one. To change something about your life. Make it better.
You want to lose weight and feel good in your skin again.
You want to get organized and stop procrastinating.
You want to make your business more successful.
You want to wake up early and be productive.
You want to cultivate the habit of mindfulness and become more zen.
You’ve gone out, done your research, and immersed yourself in books, websites, and “friendly advice”. You’ve tried a dozen different diets, snoozed a million times, taken more business courses than your wallet can afford, and only become more frustrated in the process.
No matter what you try, nothing seems to change. You’re stuck, and you’re ready to throw yourself on the floor and stomp and cry like a toddler because nothing. is. working, dammit!
I’ve been there.
It took me a year to lose 20 lbs despite crazy restraint.
In many ways, I’m still a disorganized mess (but now there’s a method to my madness – and acceptance of who I am and how this is contributing to my life).
After many years of working at it, I’m finally a better listener than talker.
Change isn’t easy.
It’s hard. And anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to your face.
You are the way you are because, on some level, it works for you.
The status quo is never unstable. The bad habits you’re so desperately trying to eliminate from your life are part of a stable equilibrium. They are there because, at this point, they help you and sustain you.
You gossip because your own shame weighs too heavily – and shaming others makes you feel like less of an underdog.
You hide behind the pounds to stay under the radar. If you were at your ideal weight, you’d have to face the (much scarier) possibility that you are unlovable – and not just because of your weight.
You keep yourself unsuccessful because you don’t really believe you are worth anything If you put yourself out there more, you’re afraid you would get rejected by the same people you desperately want to help.
You procrastinate because it’s easier to fail and blame it on your poor sense of organization (and lack of work and preparation) than it is to fail when you have given it your best.
Of course, when brought to your awareness all of these excuses sound ridiculous. But your ego doesn’t see them that way. Your ego is using fear to protect you from the possibility of getting more hurt.
Because changing a bad habit for a good one means taking responsibility for your life. And that is always risky.
But without risk there is no benefit.
Without taking responsibility for your life – without throwing yourself into life head first, with your best foot forward – you will never know how great you really are.
So here’s what you need to do:
1. Find out what’s holding you back
Ask yourself, “how is this serving me?”
“How is this helping me stay safe?”
“What would happen if I changed? What am I afraid of?”
Bringing the self-defeating mechanism into awareness allows you to see how ridiculous is really is, and how much it is holding you back. It also allows you to really see how much you are holding yourself back – and puts the real choice in your hands.
2. Start small
When you finally discover how you are holding yourself back, it’s tempting to want to jump ship cold turkey. Don’t.
The reason this often doesn’t work isn’t because you’re making a big change all at once, but because you’re making a big change and expecting yourself to follow through with it.
But the bigger the change, and the faster the attempt to change, the more your ego will resist. So when you fail at working out an hour every day after you haven’t worked out in months, you will be disappointed. You will want to quit.
By not starting small, you have set your stakes so high that you have sabotaged yourself out of success.
That’s exactly what your ego wants you to do.
Resistance, in any form, is simply your ego trying to get you to stay where you are – and be safe. You have to push through that.
But don’t avoid it.
You have to follow your resistance. It’s showing you exactly where you need change the most. Where it will make the biggest difference in your life.
Take small steps. Celebrate every bit of progress along the way. Focus on taking it one day at a time.
If today was better than yesterday, then you’ve had a good day – and you can be proud of yourself. You will get there.
If you focus on the destination, you will be miserable. Focus on the journey instead, celebrating every milestone along the way, and you will get there before you know it.
Just know that bad habits are the opposite of self-love. Emotional eating, abusive relationships, negative friends, self-defeating beliefs, chronic procrastination, bad business practices (because you don’t think you’re really worth more)… all of these are preventing your true light from shining out. They are preventing you from being the amazing person you have the potential to be… the wonderful being you truly are.
Choose to love yourself. Choose to take responsibility and question your ego.
It won’t be easy. But it will be worth it.
Thoughts? Reactions? Share your experience!