Have you ever wondered why it seems like you keep facing the same problems or struggles over and over again? You managed to change your life, your outlook, or at least accomplish some goal that you’d wanted, and you were sure that this time–this umpteenth time–everything would stick, allowing you to move on to bigger and better successes. This was until, with utter disappointment, dismay, and defeat, you found that those changes you made disappeared as quickly as roaches do when the lights are turned on.
The notion of change is so seductive and exciting, especially when you finally feel empowered enough to want to pursue it. It tantalizes us into believing that once we capture it–it is ours forever. How can we avoid the trappings of ‘change’s’ siren song? How can we create true and lasting change?
Food for Thought
Realize that you (and everything else around you) are always in a state of evolution and flux. Accept the fact that the only change that is permanent is change itself. Elizabeth Gilbert best describes the relationship between change and motion. She states, “Change is all about motion, motion is all about uncertainty and we are deeply uncomfortable with uncertainty.” In addition to our discomfort with change, many of us become complacent after we do manage to ‘change’ and reach our vision of success. For example, those of us who finally lose the weight we’ve been carrying around feel so good about that feat that we end up getting comfortable, thereby slipping back into the bad habits that allowed us to be overweight in the first place.
Create a New Normal. What is the new normal that you MUST accept in order to continue to have the quality of life that you’ve worked so hard to create? Part of creating that new normal is shedding old defeating beliefs about yourself and the world around you. Your new normal becomes your non-negotiable. For example, in November 2011 Tanika and I became vegan, gluten-free, and caffeine-free. In order for our change to have been sustainable over the last 3.5 years, we had to sever our connection and emotional affiliation to what it meant to eat meat, animal products, etc. and wholeheartedly create the new normal where meat, animal products, chocolate, and coffee no longer fit. One way to do this is to actively replace those things you give up with something else that fits with your new vision of yourself, all the while realizing that this is something that you must do continually. To do this requires making a series of adjustments.
Be grateful for all of your failures. It really is like Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Gratitude for failure allows you to appreciate process and have compassion toward life and the many lessons it seeks to teach you.
“Do the Next Right Thing.” One slip up does not have to define you. You have the power to choose and to choose those things that will elevate you at any given moment. For more information about this concept, check out Matthew Kelly’s great book called Perfectly Yourself and Brian Johnson’s Philosopher’s Notes and video summary. Doing the next right thing allows you to be unbothered and to reframe failure as a temporary state.
Be Courageous. It takes courage and resilience to look at defeat and failure and still make those necessary changes toward embracing the life that you want to have.
What steps did it take for you to create a new normal? What are some barriers you are facing now when it comes to living in the life you want? We would love to hear from you.
Best wishes on your journey–and remember to do you!