So, you’re doing great on some new change you are wanting to implement in your life. You are feeling good about all the new steps you’ve taken. You are happily beginning to build some great, positive momentum. Then unexpectedly, something you didn’t anticipate or don’t like happens. Now what? For many of us this type of experience is the kind that usually derails us from our new chosen path. It has the potential to land us right back into our old patterns or habits that don’t serve us. (If they did we wouldn’t be trying to change them.)
How did that “something” have the power to knock us off our new course? It happened because we resisted it when it happened instead of accepting it when it happened. Resisting it means spending time thinking about how we wished it hadn’t happened and perhaps why it shouldn’t have and how awful it is that it did. Since we can’t change anything that has already happened, how does this help us move forward? Right, it doesn’t. Wishing things could have been or could be different keeps us stuck in old negative patterns of thinking and doing.
One common examples of this is weight loss. We are beginning to make some new choices that support our desire to change our weight. We are even starting to see the scale start its much anticipated descent. Then we get overly busy with life, we have car problems, someone we love is ill, etc. We then unconsciously choose to go back to our old pattern of comforting ourselves with food. Why? In my opinion there are at least three reasons.
- Our new patterns haven’t had enough time to become our new default way of doing things. (see last blog titled “Rewiring“)
- Our “Emotional Needs Come First, Whether We Know it or Not“. See blog by this title, 3 October 2015
- Instead of focusing on the solution to the new challenge or situation, we focus on the problem itself. Focusing on the problem will never make us feel better or solve the problem. So why do we spend so much time there? Culturally that’s what we were taught to do. That’s what the people around us did and by default, it became part of our operating system too.
What if we’d like to change that? What if we don’t want to resist the people and events in our lives? What if we want to continue down our new path that is beginning to bring us more of want?
If you are as tired of getting derailed as I was, here’s one answer. We can train ourselves to become aware of these feelings, and allow ourselves to feel them when we encounter them. Let’s say that we are on our constructive path as mentioned above and all of a sudden, “our button gets pushed”. The one that signals to us that something undesirable has happened. Bingo, we FEEL it. That’s the pivotal moment. This is our chance to create something new, a new response instead of reacting as we have in the past. This is not second nature to us for sure. However, by training ourselves to “catch it” as it’s happening, we now have the chance to create a new outcome.
Had we responded automatically, as we usually do, we would have created the same old result that didn’t leave us feeling the way we’d like. The point is that there is a huge payoff here. By changing how we think about a challenging situation it gradually loses its power to thwart our momentum. What could be better than that? This only takes a moment and over time, it will take less than that. It’s our thoughts about the event that determine what we will choose. Those thoughts are a choice too. If it’s not you who determines your thoughts, who does?
If you are in the process of making positive changes in your life the best advice I can offer you is to be kind and gentle in your thoughts. If you find yourself derailed, ask yourself how you might approach the situation differently next time, then give that a try. Remember, any kind of change is a process that usually takes time. So why not enjoy the journey? What’s the alternative?
With love, Jackie