For years, my answer was “Less anxiety, more peace of mind!” All my energies went toward finding a way to lower my anxiety levels and increase my peace and serenity. That’s how I knew how important it was.
What ONE thing do you most want to change in your life? Is it switching to a new career, finding a life partner, or just wanting to feel better? Becoming more willing to take risks, buying a house, getting along better with people? Boil it down to the one thing you think will help fulfill you.
Write it down here (or make mental note):
THE ONE THING______________________________________
Now comes the challenge:
Are you willing to work for it? Most probably, the reason we don’t yet have what we want is because we have emotional obstacles.
Are you willing to overcome the emotional resistance to getting the ONE thing you want?
I was willing to go to any lengths for peace of mind. Because what I’d been doing was not working. I lived in fear and anxiety most of my waking life. As a result of the constant pain I lived in, I was ready to turn over every rock, try every suggestion others gave me, and dig deep inside to change my attitudes and approach to life. And that’s what it took. A deeply reflective, rigorously honest self-assessment and then institution of new practices.
That might sound scary, but the thing is, we don’t have to do it all RIGHT NOW or even overnight. Change is a long-term, growth-oriented project, like planting a seed and tending it on its journey to fruition.
An Emotional Change Process
Boiling it down, here’s the process for shifting from an old way of doing things to a new way – one that will help us achieve the ONE thing we want most right now (and then the NEXT thing we really want, and so on):
- Identify the negative patterns that keep you stuck
- Analyze why you have those patterns – look at your past, how the behaviors developed and why, how they served you
- Brainstorm new behaviors/habits that you could replace the old behaviors with
- Start practicing the new behaviors
- Acknowledge and let go of the old coping mechanisms at the same time
- Continue practicing positive behaviors, and be kind to yourself when you slip back
Eventually we let go of the old patterns and the new ones become ingrained and habitual. But this post is not about accomplishing this entire process in one fell swoop.
Let’s start with something simple – just the first part of the process, like planting the seed in the dirt. You’ve identified what you want – what are some of the negative patterns that keep you stuck?
Barriers: What Gets in Your Way of Your ONE thing?
How do these behaviors/patterns/beliefs benefit you? Take some time to think about where they came from, and what they “do” for you. Here’s an example:
- My ONE thing: Peace of mind
- Barrier: Anxiety/worry
- Why: The reason I worried was that when I was young I had no control over dysfunction going on around me, except to obsessively think about the problems and will them to be resolved
- The benefit: Worry gave me (the illusion of) safety and security
This is just the beginning, but any start is better than staying stuck. Try it. At least answer this question:
What would it take to become willing to let go of the negative behavior in the way of your ONE thing?
Are you willing to tackle the challenge of change?
Consider the gauntlet thrown.
I look forward to your responses.
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