CHANGE – we all want to do it about something, there’s always an area of our life that we’re not happy about and we WISH was different. Unless you’re one of those who can honestly, hand-on-heart say you’re completely happy with your body and your health and your relationship and your social life and your financial situation and your job or business or wherever you spend a large chunk of your time – in which case, you really don’t need to read any further and you can go off and enjoy the rest of your day and thank you for being an inspiration (but please do tell us in the comments how you did it, first) 🙂
For the rest of us, the need for change gnaws away at the back of our mind because we’re never ENOUGH of something …
But change is scary because it’s unknown and our primal, reptilian brains don’t like the unknown. Actually never mind our primal brains, our emotional and cerebral ones aren’t too keen on it either! Even when we get them to understand the necessity for change, the primal brain’s fears are often stronger than our conscious logical and emotional decisions.
So we start a new diet or fitness plan and give up after a couple of weeks (or days), we avoid applying for a new job or starting the business we’ve wanted since forever, we have the same ongoing, unsolvable arguments with our partners for years, and if we suddenly get an influx of money it’s gone within a short time and we’re back where we were before. And let’s not even talk about all the hobbies we’ve taken up in a rush of enthusiasm, spent a fortune on supplies for and now tried to avoid looking at when we open the cupboard door where we hid them when the initial excitement wore off!
Any of this sound familiar?
It was the story of my life too until a few years ago. I’d start something new (I LOVE starting something new, whether it’s a hobby, a relationship or a business), convinced this was IT! I’d buy all the books about it, restock my kitchen cupboards with everything needed for my new eating style, buy a shit-load of supplements, the very best and most expensive supplies for my new hobby (that I was always convinced was going to be a huge money-earner for me), spend hours daydreaming about the new man and how finally I could relax and trust and be myself … and after a few days/weeks/months I was back exactly where I started but poorer, sadder and usually fatter.
My first inkling that I COULD change was actually 17 years ago, on 31 December 1999, when I went from smoking 3 or 4 packs of cigarettes a DAY to being a complete non-smoker overnight. And I’ve never smoked since. Not only that, it was EASY! I never had a craving that lasted more than 15 minutes and was never tempted to start smoking again even during the most traumatic times.
When people asked me how I’d done it (actually they didn’t believe I had, they were convinced I was still smoking in secret because they hadn’t seen me without a cigarette in my hand for over 20 years), I didn’t really know what to tell them. There had to be more to it than “I just realised I wasn’t addicted after all, so I stopped” but I had no idea what it was. The clue I needed was right there, but I couldn’t see …
Of course, that was the only thing that changed .. so even though I wasn’t spending that £10 a day on cigarettes, I somehow never had a spare £300 at the end of the month!
There were other pointers: a few years later, I left the high-powered corporate job that made me miserable but I believed I couldn’t afford to leave (and how I even got the job was an amazing story in itself), and haven’t worked more than 4 hours a day (and usually much less) since without lowering my standard of living. For six or nine months before that, I’d been writing a page a day about how I appreciated my current situation but I didn’t make the connection until later …
A year later the PERFECT work for me dropped in my lap and enriched my life for the next five years – and I STILL didn’t understand how it happened and why!
And seven years ago I moved on my own to a different country, where I knew no one and didn’t (and still don’t) speak the language and now live the most incredible life near the beach, wake up to blue skies and sunshine almost every day and have a wonderful network of friends.
Finally I started to see there was a pattern to these big changes; they weren’t flukes or wildly impulsive actions that “happened” to work out ok. They all had certain things in common that made the changes easy and natural and made them stick, without effort or will-power and those are what I want to talk about over the next few days. So even if you don’t want to make any major changes, “as above, so below” and what works for the big things works for the smaller things as well.
Look out for the first step tomorrow: Why you don’t change even when you really want to