When I had a new laptop at Christmas, I hated it. I couldn’t get used to the position of the keys, I found typing really difficult on it. I used it reluctantly, occasionally, until the battery in my old faithful stopped retaining any charge, rendering it very un-portable (is that a word?)
Within a matter of days of using the newer one all the time, I loved it. A few little irritations about the keyboard, but in general it is a lovely laptop to use. Recently, when it had to be returned to the store for some TLC, I had to return to the ‘old faithful’ and was shocked at how clunky, slow and really heavy it is now! I used to carry it everywhere, and thought it was great. Now I groan inwardly if I have to use it.
This is what happens whenever we make any change in life, whether it is learning a new skill, making a change in how we live our life, or adapting to a new paradigm in our thinking.
The initial excitement (oooh, what a beautiful new laptop this is!) fades away quite quickly as you have to actually step out of the comfort zone to make the changes stick. Those first moments of the change can be excruciating, and you will likely long to retreat into your comfort zone. You may decide, as I tried to with my laptop, that is much easier to stick with the old and familiar rather than do the work required to make the change a habit. You will encounter resistance and struggle, it is part of the journey of change to fight that demon when it rises, and beat it into submission.
It will be hard sometimes, and there will be times when you won’t want to do it.
It helps hugely if you can be really clear about why you are trying to make the change in your life.
It has to be your reason. It can’t be for anyone else’s or you will not fight through the demons.
When I tried to I give up smoking for my son, who was probably about 10 at the time, I really wanted to do it for him, I truly did. I can still remember his pride when he told someone that I had stopped smoking, he was so happy.
But the trouble was, as much as I loved him and I wanted desperately to be able to do it for him, I had already failed. I was already lying to him. I was doing what I remember my father doing many years earlier, I was sneaking around hiding from my child, ashamed to let him know that I was not living up to his expectations of me.
When I finally decided to give up smoking, 1000 days ago today, along with drinking, and I was doing it for ME, for my health, for my self respect, because I no longer wanted to be the version of me I had been up to that point, I was able to do it.
What is the change you most want to make in your life right now? What is the reason you want to do it?
If you can hold on to that reason really tightly, so that the WHY become more important to you than the WHY NOT, you will succeed. Even when you feel like you could give up, you won’t, because you will have your powerful why to hang on to.
A good way to get to the real, core why, is the ‘5 Whys’ exercise.
Ask yourself what it is you want to do (I want to give up smoking)
Then ask why you want that? (so I can be healthier)
And again (so I can walk in the mountains)
and again (because I want to do the Inca Trail)
and again (because it would be an amazing experience that I have always wanted to have)
and again (because I want to make sure I experience as much of life as I possibly can).
Thinking about giving up smoking to improve health is not as motivating as a non smoker might expect it to be. Every smoker under the sun knows they are harming their health with every inhalation. You don’t persist with it because you don’t know that. You persist with it because the desire to stop needs to be stronger than the desire to succumb to that incredibly powerful craving each time it sticks its claws in.
A burning desire to experience more of life is a LOT more motivating than ‘I am unhealthy’.
Whether it is bringing a new habit into your life, or breaking free of an old one, making a change in life is hard and requires commitment.
It is much easier with support, encouragement, and motivation.
I have created the ‘Magical Mindful Moments’ challenge for anyone who wants to make moments of stillness and gratitude a daily habit. Through the challenge, you will be guided into stillness and relaxation, using your breath to connect to your deepest self, to use journaling to explore and meet yourself deeply, and use gratitude to reframe your days.
This 10 day challenge begins on July 17, and will be delivered through email and in my Facebook group.