We have information coming out our ears! We have google for every question. We have self-help books filling our bookshelves. We have podcasts, blogs, and even professionals that we can see to ask about how we can fine tune our lives. BUT what use is any of this quality information if we don’t apply it?
It seems I can’t escape this common issue. I noticed recently that I was constantly tired, but I kept on doing because it seemed I should be able to cope. Soon I realised I was not coping, but I still didn’t change. This meant I spent months needlessly tired and burnt out. It wasn’t until I was at crisis point that I stopped and actually changed my life.
“If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got.”
No kidding, right?! So why then is staying the same so seductive and changing so awfully difficult?! Why do we keep on doing what we have always done? I think the answer to this question is different for everyone, but let’s generalise for a moment to kick start our thinking.
STOP – We need to reflect.
What I mean by reflect is stopping long enough to see ourselves and situation with clarity. Often there is TV and a beer to distract instead. Personally, I find a surf trip gives me both the geographical space from my life, as well as the time out to really think about what’s going on, and why.
- Where is your best reflection space?
- Where do you get your moments of clarity?
- Do you need to visit this space more often?
DROP – Saying ‘No’ to today is saying ‘Yes’ to tomorrow
We have to be ok with saying ‘no’. You will have to say ‘no’ to your old habits and also possibly to people, which I know can be uncomfortable for many. Even though ‘no’ is confrontational, it is also a fundamental boundary word that we have to be able to use.
What can help is to reframe ‘no’. Saying ‘no’ to one person/thing is often saying ‘please’ to something else. ‘No, I don’t want to do that’, is also saying, ‘Please can I do this instead.’ When changing your life, saying ‘no’ is going to be about saying ‘yes’ to a better future. It’s not rude or offensive. Generally, it’s not going to cause you to lose your job or friendship. ‘No’ protects your boundaries and enthusiasm, and gives you space to make changes.
- What things do you need to say ‘no’ to?
- Why does it feel uncomfortable?
- What helps me to say no when I need to?
ROLL – We need to budget time and energy for the change PROCESS.
Changing requires energy. Why? Because we are going against ourselves. We are going against our old thought patterns and our old behaviour patterns, and this means the new way will feel ‘wrong’ until it becomes the new normal. This ‘lag’ is called limbic lag and it’s simply the time it takes for our limbic (feeling) system to catch-up with our neocortex (thinking). If you were to go to another country that drives on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, how long does it take for that to feel ‘right’? That’s approximately how long it takes to implement change in your life.
- How are you at implementing change?
- Do you give yourself enough time for the new habits to normalise?
- Do you conserve some energy for remembering to do/think differently?
The self-awareness gained from reflecting is worth nothing if it’s not translated into change. The tools you have picked up from reading are maximised when you make space to apply them! Do it!