This past month, the kids have returned to school, and we are working to get back into a routine. With both kids getting a little older and becoming more ‘school-age’ it has also meant a transition time for me.
On the one hand it is exciting as it means added time for my business and added time for some personal goals. But, positive change or not, the old roadblocks have still come up. Yikes! Add in some procrastination and well, it starts to feel very similar to just about every time I transition something in my life.
Whether it was transitioning to being gluten-free, removing sugar from my life, or trying to meditate on a regular basis, I have faced fear and resistance. Why? Because I am making changes. Change inherently brings resistance. Maybe this will sound familiar:
Week 1 of Lofty New Goal:
“Yes, I am committed, I can do this, I have made a plan and I am ready.”
Week 2 of Lofty New Goal:
“I am still committed, really I am, I just missed the boat today.”
Week 3 of Lofty New Goal:
“Crap. I haven’t gotten back on track since last week. Well, maybe now isn’t the right time. Maybe this isn’t really for me.”
Week 4 of Lofty New Goal:
“I give up. I suck. I can’t do this.”
Ever have anything go like that? If you are human, I am going to guess the answer is YES.
Today I am going to let you in on a little secret.
There is a part of each and every one of us that doesn’t like change. AT ALL.
No one is special in this regard. We all have this little piece in us. This part of us, sometimes called the ‘Critter Brain’, is focused on one thing and one thing only.
The kicker is, that it only likes what has worked in the past to keep you alive. Which means, even if you are eating Dunkin Donuts every day and putting yourself through a major blood sugar roller coaster that is making it really difficult to function, you technically are still alive and so Dunkin Donuts remain on the menu.
Your Critter Brain only knows what it knows. It is not at all interested in risk of any kind. The Critter Brain considers the status quo as safe and anything different (and I mean anything) unsafe. It operates under one major emotion:
But, if we let fear run our lives, it leaves us in a corner in the back of our house somewhere singing “Over the Rainbow” over and over again. That isn’t very productive.
Instead we have to demonstrate to the Critter Brain that what we are doing IS safe. And we basically need to treat it like a toddler. Ever notice how when you are trying to make a change you want to kick and scream at one point? There is the Critter Brain!
Here are three steps to help you bring the Critter Brain around:
- Get Really Clear on Why You Are Making a Change.
Sit down and write out all the reasons as to why you want to make this change and what it means to you, how it will impact your life, your family and who you want to be and how you want to feel. Then narrow it all down to clearly name what you want and why. The more specific you are, the better.
- Acknowledge the Feelings that are Coming Up.
This is so important. We often aren’t taught to deal with the negative emotions, but to move through them we must face them and understand the message they are bringing. Again, think of the toddler. Oftentimes their tantrums are happening because they don’t feel heard or understood. When you get down on their level and let them know you are listening, they feel valued and can express themselves and settle down. When you allow yourself to hear the emotions and the reasoning behind them, they are much easier to break down and move past.
- Give Yourself Space.
Go for a walk, write in a journal, meditate, draw, find something that allows you to clear your head and ground yourself. It is in the still moments that we can resolve those inner-conflicts and find clarity and peace.
Everyone faces barriers when trying to make a change in their life. It does not mean that the change is not worthwhile. It does not mean that you aren’t doing the right thing for you. It does not mean you should turn back.
What it does mean is that you are creating an internal transformation. You are challenging the status quo and creating a paradigm shift within yourself. This is HUGE. When you want to kick and scream (and you will) take some time to find out why. Acknowledge it, and move through it. You can.
When you get to the other side, your faith in yourself will payoff (it always does) and you will feel like this: