This is especially true in January, when New Year’s Resolutions are still under pressure. This year, being a new decade has only heightened the pressure this time. And now, with a global pandemic and half the year ‘gone’, we are trying to pick up the pieces of how we can be our best selves, despite circumstances.
One self-help thread comments on the importance of setting actionable goals, of them being S.M.A.R.T. Another strand emphasises the role of visualisation and acting ‘as if.’ A third route professes the strength behind gratitude and just letting things naturally form in their own way: finding the opportunities and just saying Yes.
This leads us to overwhelm. To inconsistent action, if any. And to feelings of failure.
But one of the core misconceptions I have recurrently learned is that it’s often not a problem with knowing enough but on implementing that information.
One: Knowledge Alone is Not Enough.
We KNOW that to be healthy, we need to eat non-processed food and exercise regularly. Yet, how many of us manage this? Knowing isn’t the missing piece. It’s just the first step. The remaining steps? A motivating “why” and a clear, personalised “how.”
Two: We Aren’t Taught Skills.
Although I’ve just said that knowledge isn’t enough, it’s still step one. So if we are missing out on that knowledge, it is a block. But rather than learning new “things” we are missing skills. We don’t have the skills to reflect, to work out what we truly want. We aren’t taught how to question, to fail, and to review what is working in our life.
Three: Everything We Experience is Moderated.
The human brain can only ‘take in’ so much information, and so most of what we see, hear, and experience is filtered. Yet, we often believe our thoughts as facts, and see things as ‘true’ because we forget that our eyes will have ignored things. So when you’re feeling drawn to learn more, to research, to grow… Look around at where you already are, and what you might be missing. This also goes for any courses you’ve already taken, books you’ve read. There’s likely still some value in them.
Four: Our Minds Are Programmed, Sometimes Incorrectly.
A lot of the time, we don’t need more tools, more information, or more of anything. Certainly not until we’ve recognised and began to unravel the conditioning we’ve grown up with. We have all kinds of beliefs about what a ‘right path’ looks like, or how doing what we love should always be ‘easy’ and how any obstacle might be a sign that it’s not meant to be. However, there are also opposite beliefs that are worth considering.
When I stop at a red light on the road, I’m not being told to not drive to my destination. When I get hit with the ‘resistance’ of change, it’s not always a sign for me to doubt myself, but an opportunity to step into that zone of discomfort and sit *in* the uncertainty.
Sometimes we don’t need to know more, to do more, to push forward against things, nor step back or urn away from change. What does a tree do when winter comes? Nature doesn’t fight reality, it knows the winter season is not a personal attack. I certainly need this reminder sometimes.
Five: Our Emotions and Our Body Tell Us Things.
As someone with science-based degrees and evidence-based therapy skills, people often frown when I mention our intuition. But a true scientist doesn’t ignore information that… possibly, could yield useful information.
I meld the ‘woo’ with the science; because magnetism was once seen as magic. Our thoughts result from chemical and physical shifts in our brain chemistry. Why is that any more or less ‘real’ or ‘valid’ than numbers in a psychological study? So before we try to look for the next crucial clue, pause and watch what you as a human are actually experiencing.
Six: Baby Steps Add Up — Trust Them.
My final point is that things take time, that the journey anywhere involves putting one foot in front of the other, one step at a time. Again, sometimes we believe (see #4) change should be easy, fast, and without hold-ups. But in reality, trusting the process, that the spiral will unfold and the next few feet of road will show up in your headlights is both a common theme in people’s experience of personal growth, and matches how shifts happen in nature.
Through repeating actions and thoughts, our brains make physical new connections and build a special sheath around them to make them strong and efficient.
It’s okay to take small, repeated steps because that is how progress is made.
This post was previously published on Change Becomes You and is republished here with permission from the author.
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