Why is personal change so hard?
Do you have a really strong pull to do something bigger with your life…something more meaningful?
But each time you try to break out of the default mode of living, life sucks you back under. You forget. You get sidetracked. Distracted from that big thing. You have big plans to change, but each night, the couch pulls you in with its tractor beam.
Maybe there’s a really tough reason you haven’t gone after that big dream. Illness. Death (not your own, obvs). Children. (Enough said!)
Or, maybe there’s nothing spectacularly different about this moment of time – you’ve got standard normal stress in your life, and when you get home after a long day of work/chores/responsibilities obligations/other people’s demands on your time, the last thing you want to do is think about your purpose in life.
I totally, totally get that. When I worked at a soul-sucking job I would come home exhausted. And even though I knew that job wasn’t what I wanted, I couldn’t have told you what it was, exactly, that my heart was yearning for.
Much easier to distract myself with other things.
Look – sometimes succumbing to the couch monster is totally necessary. We all need a break.
How to know the difference?
You can probably already tell the difference between “I just need a day off” and “I really need to break through that pattern of ignoring what’s really important to me”, but just in case, here’s how I would define it:
Thinking pattern for exhaustion: I absolutely love what I do. I feel totally fulfilled and excited to wake up every day. But I’ve been killing it nonstop for two weeks and I just want to chill for a second.
Thinking pattern for not going after what you want in life: Why can’t I seem to break through this pattern? Why am I waking up again today in the same old job, same old world? Why don’t I feel happy, even though there are so many awesome things in my life?
You probably already know if the couch monster has taken more than his due (sorry, dudes, couch monster is a dude in this blog.)
You feel it in your bones – that drudgy, sloggy feeling.
But you don’t know what to do about it. How do you break that pattern and start doing the things you intend to do?
Look, we all know changing your life isn’t easy (and that’s what we’re really talking about here.) That’s why we spend like a gazillion dollars on self-help, dieting, and self-improvement books.
If personal change were easy, if there were one simple system that could presto-change-o your life, then we’d all be doing it.
More information isn’t the answer.
You probably know, right now, what you need to do next to move you towards your goal. You don’t need to research it more or think about it or put it to committee. You know, deep in your heart, what you are supposed to do. Promise. (I can hear the protesting through the screen!)
So how do you break through that pattern of not going forward?
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I had written about 4 paragraphs here on the science of personal change.
But it was boring. Even for me. And I love this stuff. So I deleted them all.
Besides, if you’re in that spot where everything seems like a slog, then your eyes are going to glaze over when you read things like “structural support” and “social opposition”.
So here’s what I do when I’m trying to figure out what to do.
Close your eyes, put your hand on your heart, and take a few deep breaths. Wait until your mind has slowed down; don’t worry if it doesn’t seem totally quiet .
And then ask yourself “what is my next, best step?”
If you’d like to get all spiritual, you can even add “for my highest good and the highest good of all others”.
Now here’s the key: whatever that answer is, you have to set aside time to go do that thing.
Whatever it is, know that your first attempt at it doesn’t have to be perfect. Doesn’t even have to be good. Write for the trashcan. Pretend whatever you’re creating is just a first draft that will be edited twenty times.
Now for the hard part. Allow.
Allow that first attempt to be totally suck-ass.
Allow the universe/God/Goddess/Source/Spirit to support you.
Allow it to unfold exactly as it should.
Allow, and then allow some more.
With love, support, and compassion,