I have struggled greatly with getting my blog out this week. I have about a billion ideas to write about, and I had most of one post almost complete by Thursday morning but, I just couldn’t finish it, I struggled.
So now, after getting up early this morning and spending 50 mins writing away at it, I’ve stopped close to the finish, and changed tack completely...
Motivation, persistence, accountability - these are all important things to do when you are trying to make some change in your life. Many self-help resources focus on these skills/attributes as the most critical for making change. In my experience however, on their own they aren’t enough. Often we have big dreams for our lives but do nothing about them. We cry over hating our job but don't pursue moving industry or starting our own business. We feel overweight and unfit but don't exercise regularly. We know that we need to take vitamins or medication everyday, but forget after two days. And although we keep trying to do something about it - we try and fail, so we try again and begin to lose interest, then we try again and give up - the same level of effort over and over and over, we do the exact same thing - we start strong, falter and give up all too easily.It reminds me of the resounding success of gym memberships - I tell you why they make you sign up for a year - it's because they know that you'll go for 2 - 4 weeks then never come back - easiest money they ever made. But why do we do this?? Why are our brains wired like this? Why is making the change we want to make, so incredibly difficult?Some say, it's because we don't have a compelling reason to change - perhaps if we pretend it is life or death then we would be motivated to do something about it. But research shows even when it IS life or death, it can be almost impossible to stick to a new routine and make a significant life change - no amount of motivation & positivity can overcome our unconscious resistance mechanisms.And then there is fear. We attribute almost every failure in life to fears - fear of failure, fear of change - but there has to be a reason why even the fears that are obvious and conscious have a hold over us so strong that even the bravest of people still resist making the easiest of changes...where does this irrational fear and resistance come from?When I decided to face this in my life the first thing I started with was cultivating self-awareness. Self-awareness is not simply knowing what you do and don’t like to do, and it isn’t knowing that you are a Virgo born under an Aries moon…
Self-awareness is the ability to stay present in the moment and notice your emotional and physical responses, as well as your thought processes and what comes out of your mouth. When you initially try this out - the point is not to try to change your behaviour or stop yourself - it is simply to be the observer and to ‘notice’ without judgement.
This gentle curiosity is what is needed to slowly begin to understand ourselves. This non-judgemental outside perspective is the distance we need to not dive in with all guns blazing to try to magically transform our lives once again (- that can come at a later point, but should never be the first step).
The hardest aspect with trying to cultivate change is that we are compelled to follow our usual pattern of behaviour. But it is these patterns of behaviour we want to become aware of and understand the stories we are telling ourselves that are behind them.
So as I sit down now (a day late for my scheduled publish of a post but I’m here nonetheless), I’m listening to the story my mind is relaying as to why I should just give up writing my blog again. I’m listening to my story which tells me that if it isn’t perfect I shouldn’t send it out. I’m listening to the story about why I need to write a blog every week. And amongst all this noise - I guess I’m just going to hit Publish.