The miracle of awareness has always been interesting to me. I say this because suddenly, we find ourselves as if a light turned on. As if somehow, the concept of life and the way we live becomes so clear and we can see now. We can feel this, wide-open and in plain sight. We find ourselves at a pivotal movement when we’re not so afraid anymore. Or maybe we come to the understanding that there’s nothing to be afraid of and, suddenly, the excuses seem to vanish. The worries disappear and all that’s in front of us is a future opportunity. We come to the realization that there’s nothing between us but air and ideas. One step closer, and there we are, right where we want to be.
Once you have something, and I mean once you really have something, whether this is a frame of mind or something more tangible; like a goal that’s been achieved or a trophy on a bookcase – once you’ve taken it this far, you can’t stop now. You have to keep moving. You have to keep the momentum. Otherwise, the drive to move forward can stop.
You have to keep working. That’s the bottom line. This is the reason why people quit before they even start; it’s because life takes work. This is all true but the work changes because the work to gain something is not the same as the work it takes to keep it.
Therefore, it is helpful to remember that more than the art of achievement is the art of maintaining what we’ve achieved. We have to polish our victories. We have to shine them to keep them glimmering. Otherwise, the little trinkets in our lives can tarnish or lose their luster.
It’s easy enough to count our losses but losing the details of our achievements can lead to a diminishing return. We can forget our capabilities. We can forget that we are able, that we can achieve, that we can accomplish and more than this, we can forget that we have the ability to put forth the effort and that we can do whatever it takes to reach and surpass our goals – and be victorious.
Sometimes we backslide. Sometimes we relapse into old behaviors.
Sometimes we find ourselves in a place where we’ve become lost in old patterns. We’ve been here before. We’ve been through this before; whether this is an idea of say, weight loss for example or something else, you’ve been here before. You know you have. You know that you’ve climbed out from this place before and when you fall back, it seems as if you find yourself in a room with no doors and there’s no way out.
You know exactly what to do but at the same time . . . it’s like you don’t know how – like a child lost in the woods. You can’t remember the way you applied yourself before and, in fairness, the effort it takes to retrieve your goals can almost seem impossible.
You know you have to move. You know that you need to motivate yourself – and you say that you’ll do it. You’ll start tomorrow (if tomorrow ever comes) and you mean it this time. This can be about anything. This can be about looking for a new job. This can be about leaving a bad relationship. This can be about losing weight or finding the power within you to stop your compulsions. You want to start a new habit and switch directions. This can be a self-help idea or a means of personal survival. This can be about any transformational change.
But there’s a challenge.
We have to start the machine. We have to switch gears and find a way to reverse ourselves and create the inertia it would take to spin in a different way.
There is no reason to deny these intimidations because denying them is a lie and change is not benefited by lies. Instead, we can choose the right to call this out. We can voice our truths even if the truths are unbecoming to us. Or, even if our truths betray us, we can voice them and learn to work beyond them.
We can talk this out and come to an honest decision in which we realize the difference between excuses and facts. We can understand our reasoning. We can dedicate ourselves to the change in front of us and work through the obstacles we face; which is us, which is our excuse machine, which is only looking for the ease of math and simple comfort.
This is how we turn the machine around. This is how we start to place value in perspective places as well as understand why we’ve slid backwards. This is where we come to the most valuable find of them all: Our realization.
My last entry discussed our thoughts and feelings and how this affects our behaviors. This is a case of our internal belief system and our subconscious methods which we are accustomed to.
Our surface mind is aware of what’s in front of us. This is quick. This is the mind that needs to move. We need to make decisions and if you recall, I’ve mentioned this before: on average, the mind makes approximately 35,000 decisions during the day.
Some of these are simple choices. Some decisions are which bottle of water do I grab from the refrigerator. Do I turn left or right? Some of these simple decisions are very basic. But not all choices are easy to make which is why we have developed a personal system of navigation. This is to help us perform an easier day with less stress and fewer difficulties.
Now, when we talk about changes or when we face the initial beginning of a personal transformation, we are seeing our knee-jerk reactions and our habitual patterns. For some of these changes, this can be as awkward as switching from being right-handed to left, or vice-versa.
Our habits have been designed to create comfort and each time we make a change, our body is experiencing an alternate force which is the change. It takes time to adjust to this change. It takes endurance too because in many cases, the awkwardness and the need for reward and comfort steps in which is why people quit or allow themselves to go back to old or default settings.
We want comfort and we understand that our old comforts have made our lives uncomfortable. This is the pattern which makes transformational change a difficult task. There are times when we make it out of this. There are times when we find ourselves on the other side of the equation. We’re walking tall and feeling good. We find pride in our appearance and pride in our ownership which is great. But all of this can go back. All of this can be forgotten. All of our gains and all of our work can turn to waste if we lose our way or forget to maintain its value.
Whatever it is you’re looking for, once you find it, you have to keep it.
But not only that, you have to cherish it. You have to keep this close to the heart. Otherwise, the victory becomes old and the novelty wears off. Next, you start to wonder if any of this was worth it and, once more, the symptoms come back. Next, we slide back into the ideas of confusion.
Relapse is easy. Then again, so is recovery. Therefore, if we have the capacity to choose – we can work through this or anything that sets us back. We just have to be honest. We have to call this out. Or, we have to tell on ourselves to keep us accountable; to keep us moving, to keep us going, and to keep us from sliding backwards.