You’ve thought about it, you’ve made the decision, you’re ready to act….
And then what? You’ve made the decision to make that fresh start, and taking that first step …You take that first step…. Yup, you’ve done it but, hmmm something doesn’t feel right… so now what?
What? What’s that you say? Excellent? Yup, excellent!
That feeling of something not being right is exactly what you’re looking for! If it were to feel right then all you’re doing is reinforcing the old patterns. To create a fresh start you need to do something new and that means feeling different, feeling uncomfortable even. This doesn’t mean you have to do something totally radical – although that’s not bad either. But, do something different.
“Neurons that fire together, wire together”
This is a saying that speaks to how habits are formed. And neurons are not motor they relate to everything in our environment. Many have experienced a moment of forgetfulness of a pin or password; you know that moment when you’re standing in front of the ATM and your mind goes… uhm, but, you put your hand up to the machine and seemly automatically your fingers remember the PIN. Or there are they times when people are so impaired that they can barely walk but, they are still able to push that PIN into the debit machine. These are examples of how the habit works. These examples are movement related but, these habits don’t stop there! They can be emotional as well, an emotional eater knows all about this one. Those are the times when you start stressing about something and the first place you find yourself is in front of the fridge looking for that comfort food. I’ve used the example of being an emotional eater but there are so many more emotions and so many more habits that are emotionally based: anger, depressed, anxious, sad, to name only a few all can be associated with habits you want to change.
The first step is really to allow yourself to be you!
Allow yourself to recognize and fully appreciate the feeling of the moment – that moment when its uncomfortable. What is that feeling? Is it just the feeling for muscles that haven’t stretched that way in a long time OR is there another feeling in there? Lack of confidence, shame, or guilt? You don’t need to analyse the feeling but if it doesn’t belong there – let it go! Keep stretching, just let go of the “feeling”! You might find you’re able to stretch a little deeper. Another example, you find yourself standing in front of the fridge between meals (or even at meal time) and, you have a “craving”. Ask yourself; what am I feeling? Feelings of exhaustion, guilt, shame, anger, all can trigger that habit of reaching for a soda, or a glass of wine or those potato chips. They have NOTHING to do with providing your body with healthy nutritious food to replenish your body. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m an emotional eater, and it can be a challenge to let go of those emotions (and the ice cream) when you know the reason for your snack/dinner choice.
So how to do it! How to make that first step to change that habit. The first step – COMMIT to yourself! Make a promise to yourself to change that habit.
In the example of the emotional eater, an idea I like is to put a sign IN and ON the fridge that says: “You promised to be gentle on yourself”. I like this because it’s not guilt, it’s a gentle reminder to be good to yourself. Another example for the emotional shopper, freeze those credit cards in a block of ice (the bigger the better). It gives you the time and opportunity to really think about the purchase – as you stand there with a hair dryer, thawing the block.
The point is do something different, change the emotions associated with that regular habit. Create the space for you to experience the whole change, and to really look at what is uncomfortable in this new neuro pathway.
I’d love to hear from you about your ideas to keep your promise to yourself. Others can benefit from your experience so please share!