How To Take Charge Of You Life
Many a good resolution falters because we forget to prepare ourselves. Crops don’t flourish in unprepared soil.
Take me this morning as an example. I woke up in a bad mood. I was grumpy and tired. Some of the recent projects I had started felt daunting, possibly pointless. My tasks for the day felt annoying and overbearing. I wanted to go back to bed. No doubt you’ve found yourself here before too, wondering where all the excitement of the New Year and new you went.
It’s at this point that the content of thoughts often become dominated by blaming, complaining and giving lots of reasons for not doing things. Feelings turn from hope and excitement to defeat and disappointment. Plans begin to whither.
Preparation for change involves groundwork. And maintaining change involves…well maintaining the groundwork. So, here are my five tips to keep you (and me) on track with new plans.
1. If you are a procrastinator, you will need to be prepared to opt for immediate discomfort in order to get long-term gratification. Start by writing a list of the things you are avoiding doing, break them down into the smallest possible tasks and aim to do at least one. Expect discomfort, don't let it stop you. As you begin to gain confidence in yourself as a non-procrastinator you will feel more motivated.
2. Notice the number of times you complain each day. Are you happy with that? Does it make you feel better? Chances are it doesn’t. Complaining is a disempowering alternative to taking action. If there is something you can do to change the situation, take steps to do it. If not, let it go. Mindfulness meditation is a useful way of learning to let go.
3. Challenge yourself to act when you don’t feel like it. It’s easy to fall into the trap of waiting until you feel like doing something to get going. Waiting will leave you feeling dispirited. Taking action in spite of your feelings will leave you feeling energised and proud of yourself.
5. Resist blaming yourself or others. It gives the illusion of power but in reality will sap your energy leaving you or the other person feeling tired and dispirited. Try to problem solve rather than criticise. Perhaps the standard you have set for yourself or others is unrealistically high? Try to fully understand what has gone wrong rather than opt for the quick ‘fix’ of blaming.
4. Expect to have setbacks. When bad weather strikes a farmer’s crop, he doesn’t just give up and go to bed. He may feel disappointment, even despair…but he gets back out there to salvage the situation. Seeing things as either a total success or total failure (black and white thinking) is particularly unhelpful in setback situations. So you didn’t stick to your resolution this week, that’s a glitch, not a failure. And beware of using setbacks as an excuse to return to the predictable, safe, state of affairs before you committed to change.
My invitation to you is to try this for a day (...an example of keeping the task small). As for me, since I woke up and started getting in charge, I have felt more positive and my projects feel less daunting. This is of course an on-going process. I will feel tired and cross again. But I know that when I do, it’s all down to me to nudge things in the right direction again.
Image credit: Joe geraci