[These excerpts are from CYCLING in the CITY — How I Got My Confidence Back, Book 2 in the Burnout to Bliss series. Book 2 is about a first step in recovery after intense burnout. (For that story, please see Book 1, BURNOUT — How a Desert Lizard Restored My Faith.)
Book 2, CYCLING in the CITY, was designed to be a guide for anyone wanting to make any kind of change in her life. “Part One: Cycling in the City” is my story, sharing the process of making a huge personal change — healing myself and reclaiming my confidence and self-esteem. “Part Two: Thoughts About Making Changes” explains why making change is so difficult; it addresses the different kinds of changes we make, the mental games we play, and the essential key for success. The book is $1.99 for a limited time. Buy it here.]
Excerpt 16, PART TWO, CYCLING in the CITY:
Because I know I have learned rituals and behaviors that have become habits – some good, some bad – when I want to make a change, I expect resistance. I’ll forget to do that thing. Or I’ll find myself in a situation where “I have to get through this” – like doing my taxes or meeting a writing deadline – and “cheat” by eating the forbidden food because “I need it to get through this!”
It’s not that I’m setting myself up for resistance by expecting it; it’s just that, in my experience, when I’ve tried to make big changes, resistance happens.
Here’s how I deal with it: I make a plan.
Generally, for things like “take that new vitamin supplement (or medicine) every day,” I have to create a way to get it into my life routine. The image of using a shoehorn comes to mind. Seriously! If I want to change what I’m doing now, something else has to leave the program, because I had already filled up my time doing other things. There’s no space for adding something new. Does that make sense?
In the example about taking that new supplement every day, I had to make space in my life for that to happen. I had to determine when and how that new thing would happen. I decided to add it to my coffee ritual, which has been in place all my life. “After my first cup of coffee, I’ll take that new supplement.” But I discovered that on some days, I couldn’t remember whether or not I had taken it. That might be okay for a vitamin supplement, but it would be a disaster for a required prescription medication!
So, to make sure I did it – because it’s a new habit I wanted to create – I bought a 2-year calendar, and wrote at the top of the page the first letter and then the full name of the supplement I said I wanted to take. It looked like this: “M – Magtein.” And then each day, I noted on the calendar whether I took it or not with the letter “M.” Simple, right?
But if it’s so simple, then why did I skip days?
I skipped taking it those days because it’s a new thing and I had not yet repeatedly made space for it in my life. Repetition is required in learning and to develop any new behavior. It is especially required when trying to incorporate any change in one’s routine.
The same thing happened in 1991, when I wanted to include meditation every day. Great intention, but it took a long time to make it a permanent part of my routine. Why? Because I had so many excuses! Here are a few of them:
- I have a job and I don’t always get up early enough to do that.
- It’s too cold in the morning to just sit.
- I stayed up late last night grading papers.
I think you get the idea. We’ll always have excuses for not doing the thing we said we wanted to do when we’re trying to make a change.
So how can I make that change that I say I want to make in the face of such resistance?
(The answer is coming up in next week’s post!)
In Progress: Book 3, Burnout to Bliss series
Book 3 relates my story of “surrender” — trusting that my life is in Divine Order. It is the final story of an awakening experience, my two-year journey with one modest paycheck and no plans that was launched with BURNOUT. The first getaway from that extreme situation was to a “sanctuary” in California as related in Book 2, CYCLING in the CITY. That getaway apparently was simply to heal myself enough to take the next step.
The real story of “surrender” began when that sanctuary was no longer available and I became like The Fool (Tarot card), jumping off a cliff with a tiny knapsack and a little dog for company…
Want to be with the first to know when Book 3 is available?
Click the BURNOUT TO BLISS tab on the far right at the top of the page and scroll down, and then follow the directions OR simply click the link below:
Till next time, please be kind to everyone you meet, for we all have our hidden sorrows. ~Tzaddi