There is really only one thing you have to do to get out of your comfort zone to do something new, and that is this: get out of your comfort zone and do something new.
Totally simple. And, almost impossible.
Why? Findings in neuroscience say: more than 60% of our day is spent in “automatic.” So doing anything new is actually quite taxing. Now we don’t have to think we’re lazy and unmotivated anymore. Because, you see, it is our brain that’s lazy and unmotivated.
Getting out of “automatic” requires so much energy, that the discomforts are probably going to outperform your inspiration to change. Explains a lot, doesn’t it? Here are my tips for how to deal with this harsh reality:
I watch myself walk toward the Keurig, and even as I remind myself that I have decided to cut down on coffee, I’m like a robot. I see myself take the cup out of the cupboard, and there is nothing I want more out of life than one more cup of coffee. This is a good time to start praying. A good prayer might be “God give me strength not to do what my brain is used to doing. Please, God, I can move my hand three inches over to the tea box instead of the Keurig, and I can put that teabag in my cup. Please God, give me strength to use that teabag.”
2) Remember: you are not lazy, your brain is lazy.
It’s not your fault, you are not such a bad person. No matter how much I know you really believe you are when your resolutions don’t work.
3) Suffer for 30 days. Or More.
I know you believed that doing something new January 1st and 2nd and possibly even the 3rd meant you would feel better right away. But…that just ain’t gonna happen. Sorry, but the stress of trying something new kills all that. You have to suffer for about 30 days — the amount of time it takes for new habits to form — before you can coast comfortably on “automatic.” By that time, you may even have forgotten what a great achievement you have made, and how much better your life is. Maybe you could put post-it’s all over the house to remind yourself: “Don’t forget, I’ve changed my life.”
4) Be Sad Sometimes.
Your old self, that sweet nice self with the old habits of putting on slippers instead of sneakers and getting herself another cup of coffee instead of some healthy sour lemon water, was a lovely self. There was nothing wrong with that self. In fact, that self was the self you really love, because she was so much more comfortable than this horrible new improved stressed- out person you have become. Expect to mourn that old sweet self. But then, move on.
5) Baby Baby Steps.
You still don’t realize what a big deal it is to do anything even remotely different from your usual patterns, do you? Here’s what I had to do, switching to tea: find a tea worth drinking, buy it, place it right out in the open where it’s more handy than the coffee pods, put a huge poster on the wall that says “DRINK TEA TODAY” and get a buddy to hold me accountable. I didn’t even do the last two which is why this resolution will probably fail. But it is the small steps that change the world, and there’s always tomorrow.
6) Loathe your life, not yourself.
If you have to choose between being stressed out continuing to instil new habits or getting down on yourself for dropping them, opt for the stress and keep trying. Even though it’s much, much easier to get down on yourself, nag yourself, call yourself names and make yourself feel guilty for the rest of the year. Anything is easier than creating new habits. Again, the ol’ brain.
In summary: remember, new year’s resolutions are a bitch. We live in a time that prizes emotional awareness, so you will probably really feel your stressed-out-ness more than previous generations, who were strong, determined, and knew where they were going but had little idea what they were feeling and didn’t really care. But we care: I care. Your small step managing the stress of making changes in your fully present emotional state is really one large step for mankind.
And now, I’m going to go have a cup of coffee. Oh, sorry, tea.[contact-form subject='[Where%26#039;s My Sanity?’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Website’ type=’url’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]