Change comes with…
We all want to change things in our lives. Whether it involves our eating habits, physical activity, our jobs, relationships with ourselves or others, it comes with some discomfort, even when we have a clear empowering idea of why the change is so necessary. To transform we must step out of our comfort zone (defined as “an anxiety-neutral condition using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance” ~White2009~ by Wikipedia), and instead step into the unknown, into uncertainty. Change comes with starting new habits, ingraining something new into our lives.
To be more specific, this question came up with one of my clients the other day. We were talking about self love and how it shows up in her life. I gave her a homework assignment to do at the end of each day to measure how she shows up for herself throughout the day. If she did show up, I asked her to celebrate it! She also needs to take notes of the areas where she thinks she could do better.
When we met again a couple of days later we discussed how she was doing with the task. I learned from our conversation that she was actually doing amazing, but there was still one thing that made her feel very uncomfortable, and that was celebrating the small changes.
Why did this make her uncomfortable, and what is really happening when we decide to change?
First of all when we change a behavior and start learning something new, as I said before, it forces us to step out of our comfort zone and do something different. This can make any of us feel uneasy, or maybe even excited, depends on what we focus on!
As an example, think about the following: Let’s say you have not been active at all, and one day you decide to go out for a bike ride. Most likely moving your body in ways you haven’t for a long time will come with great pain, and you will get sore! Your body must adapt to the new pattern of movements, which means you have to keep riding that bike again and again on the same route, until eventually one day you won’t feel sore at all.
It is exactly the same with our nervous system. The emotional discomfort we feel is the same as muscle soreness. The only way we can get that “muscle” strong is by training it over and over again. Just like with any other activity we need to keep repeating the new behavior until it becomes our neutral pattern till that “muscle” becomes solid.
There is a saying “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” and it works both ways. You have to practice a new behavior to strengthen it, and you need to stop doing or forget about the old habit in order to lose it.
Change comes with conscious decision-making. I found it so important to notice the small changes and successes and to celebrate them to built positive references into the new behavior, to feel rewarded and joyful in the process of making a shift, instead of feeling miserable because we feel we didn’t do well enough.
There is one more thing that can help you make that big shift in your life easier. Try to associate change with growth. You are always learning something new about yourself. You are exploring who you are. You can choose to focus on the discomfort, or the adventure part of your journey. Step out of the fear and direct your focus on something empowering and your life will turn Magical!
What is your experience with change? Please leave your comments under the blog!