Stuck in a rut and itchy for change?
What do you want to do with your life Some of us have big plans. We want to run a marathon, travel, or start an art class and hit our goal weight once and for all.
Smaller plans could include meeting more friends, walking our dogs more, meditating, or mastering the art of cooking. I often waver between "dreams" and plans and am not sure which one to focus on and which one will bring the greatest happiness. Many of us are the same; and it could be a sign that we're just itching for a change in our lives.
We all look for happiness: that often means joy, commitment and meaning or purpose in our lives. When we lack any of these things, we often feel that "something is missing".
The mistake some of us make then is that we stretch too thin and quickly move from being a little bored to actually overwhelmed!
Find the right balance
The problem is that our notion of "change" is often too dramatic and grandiose. We want it to be a big dream and we want it now. Social media can often be blamed for this; Everything is big and brave and dramatic.
We scroll through feeds and often forget that life is rarely like that in reality.
For example, one of my dreams is to write picture books for children. In my mind, I decided that it would take a long time to achieve this. It's a smart way to hesitate because of course that mindset is overwhelming, which means that often I don't write at all!
We all tend to do this; We mistakenly believe that we don't have enough time to make the big and drastic changes we think are necessary so that we don't do anything. If I hadn't been thinking so dramatically or in black and white, maybe I would remember that baby steps are all that is really needed. It can be enough to focus on just one small change.
For example, I could just write ten minutes a day for now and then see how it goes instead of thinking, "I have to spend three hours a day doing it to be successful."
Check out "5 Ways To Kill Your Dreams" by Brazilian entrepreneur Bel Pesce.
She asks us to remember reality, which is about making dreams come true:
1) there is no overnight success;
2) You have the answers for your own life;
3) continued success depends on constant hard work;
4) Blaming others is not good and
5) Try to enjoy every step of your journey rather than just reaching the destination itself.
A language of "should"
This is the point in time when the “shoulds” and “musts” appear. It is these words that make us feel bad from the first hurdle, as if we are not "reaching" like the rest of the world.
Ask yourself what isshould’ statement do you use? These common negative thought patterns or cognitive biases can lead to feelings of anxiety, worry and, in many cases, total paralysis, making you avoid exactly what you want to do. This is where cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help and enable a more rational and constructive perspective. Also, try changing your "should" to "could" – for example, I could run for 10 minutes every morning. This type of reverse psychology provides relief and, ironically, often makes it much more likely that you will achieve the goal.
Try to motivate yourself by substituting less guilty words for "should". For example, telling yourself not to eat will only make many feel deprived. Instead of viewing certain foods as prohibited, Opt for a healthy diet because you want to.
Try saying, "I could eat this, but I choose not to." Remind yourself of all of the reasons why you want to avoid sugary, fatty foods. For example, do you feel tired or sluggish with a certain food? Does it cause cravings, difficulty concentrating or even a headache? Maybe in the long run it will just result in weight gain and that way you will feel miserable. If this is the case, then you can remember to make yourself feel worse afterwards (an hour later, the next morning, or if you fail to reach your weight loss goal) to withstand these poor food choices from the start.
Another example of "should" is feel obliged to exercise. It may feel like a burden to follow this exercise routine you set up, perhaps when you were overzealous and ignored some realistic limits of time and energy. But if you dread that trip to the gym or that morning walk, don't give up. You are responsible for your own rules of life. Every move counts.
Try changing your should: "I want to train and be physically active today because I know I'll feel better afterwards." Think about how it energizes you, invigorates you, lifts your mood, or even helps relieve stress. Each exercise increases your metabolism and builds muscles that burn more calories to help you lose weight.
Firm on what you want
As you are thinking about a change you want to make in your life, ask yourself these three crucial questions that will help you become more clear about what you actually want rather than what you think you should want.
1. The first steps: Do you know what to do now? Have you tried investing 10 minutes in (your dream / plan / ambition) every morning? Why do you think you put it off? Could it be your "Cheating Syndrome" saying you are not good enough or not important enough? Do you lack the time or are you just making excuses? Do you think you are worth it
2. The imagination: Think of someone who does what you dream of doing. How do you think is their daily life? Is your picture realistic or idealized? Could you imagine doing this every day? Have you considered the challenges or lows of reality? Do you know the whole picture? Do you still want it? If so, fine. If not, is there a modified version of this dream that you could go for instead?
3. Basic needs: What values do you think you would like to fulfill if you realize this dream? Is it recognition or the feeling of being “good enough”? Or is it something else? Do you have a central need for more flexibility in your job, more freedom or more space in your life (for example, a parent who stays at home might ask for some time for me and might want to go back to work part-time?). Or do you long to use your creative side more? Ask yourself how you can come to terms with your values and dreams.
"Believe in yourself! Believe in your abilities! Without a modest but reasonable trust in your own abilities, you cannot be successful or happy." – Norman Vincent Peale