Most people fear change so much that they become too paralysed to move forward. This could be from a situation that has developed over time or a random that has been thrust upon you. Most are more content to sit and whine about what is not right or not good enough, than to put some effort into taking a new direction or making a new start, or they play the ‘why me victim’. Why is this so?
There are way too many variable factors that lead to choosing to settle for living with mediocrity, straight out abuse or going into total meltdown in change situations, and I am not going to go there. The interesting thing is that it is different for everyone and may only apply in specific areas of your life.
For example, you may find it easy to move house, but not move from a negative/abusive relationship. You might find it easy to change jobs but not travel too far from home. Others might find the reverse. The thing is, if you can make change easily in one area of your life, why not in others? Why do you find it so difficult to pursue an improved life or follow a path that you love?
When situations arise that change our current status, the best thing we can do is to choose to see them as an opportunity. Some love the unknown, finding it exciting and liberating others fear it with a passion and cannot tolerate the uncertainty. Yes, they may be challenging, but that is how we grow.
Many choose to shut themselves down by worrying what might go wrong, when we could choose to be excited with what could go right. That’s right, it is a choice. You have heard the saying, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”? It’s true.
It comes down to how you operate at the unconscious level – what has been hardwired in your system from your past. It is behaviours you have learned, so therefore, you can ‘unlearn’ them.
You know that ‘gut feeling’ thing, when something just doesn’t feel right. That is your unconscious letting you know to pay attention, or you will pay with pain. Most will do whatever it takes to avoid this discomfort. Getting side tracked, perpetual procrastination and avoidance, or by more serious diversions like over eating, not eating, drinking, smoking, gambling or taking drugs, and even other addictions like shopping or sex.
So, how do you move forward?
- Awareness: Become aware of when these patterns occur. Document it. Describe it. Understand the symptoms. Don’t worry about the origin. Befriend it.
- Avoidance: Know what your avoidance strategy is. How is this impacting on your life? Is it beneficial? Does this behaviour help to permanently relieve the discomfort? Would you be better off learning about the discomfort and how to heal it or continuing to deal with it the next time it pops up? Over and over again …
- Get support: Ask your friends what they see. I am sure you know how you can see patterns and behaviours in others that they can’t see. Maybe the support of a counselor or coach would help. Be open to their observations. The unconscious patterns can be very illusive, deep seeded and cause distress if not managed suitably. Professionals can help you to better understand why, if you are interested in that.
- Decide what you want. If this is too hard, just go with the opposite of what you don’t want.
- Make a plan to move towards it. Break it down into bite size chunks and step it out. Little by little. Remember, it has taken a lifetime to get you where you are now, so it will not necessarily change overnight – although it is possible.
- Take action. One (or more) little steps every day. It won’t be long until you see and feel a difference, and gain momentum.
- It takes 30 days to create a new habit. Make sure you practice your new behaviour. Eventually you will ask yourself “why didn’t I do that before?” It was worth the effort. Learn from the experience so you don’t repeat it again.
Next time there is an opportunity for change. Get excited – what is I am to learn this time? Embrace it, love it, learn and grow.