All of these have their own challenges, but you are probably not very surprised that ultimately it all boils down to looking at our eternal nemesis: our habits!
Fear of the unknown is a powerful emotion that keeps us from budging from our current position – as uncomfortable as it may be – simply because we are afraid that any new place might be even less comfortable than the one we find ourselves in right now. Fear does one thing very well: it creates more fear, especially if we feel that whatever could replace what makes us afraid could be worse.
Fear is good at telling us that change is bad, and one of the biggest challenges in life is overcoming fear and looking further afield for something that is ‘better than this’. Unfortunately, it is very easy to become paralysed by that sense of ‘painful security’, because we are able to downplay the pain that fear is causing us, and overrate the dangers of looking beyond fear into what might just lay ahead of us. Sometimes it takes a leap of faith that most of us are only able to make when the situation becomes completely unbearable and we simply cannot go on like this anymore.
Lack of motivation is another big one: we may be suffering from a situation we find ourselves in, but are just not motivated enough to do something about it. Maybe we feel that we are being pushed in a particular direction by our partners or colleagues, or we just cannot see the need to make changes.
On the other hand, we might also be too lazy to change or even consider change at all. If that is the case, don’t be afraid to admit it (at least to yourself!). Inertia is a powerful factor in life: why put yourself through the rigours of changing a well-oiled routine if you feel that all is fine?
You may want to ask yourself if overcoming that laziness could lead to something wonderful. Sometimes lack of motivation is a sign of just not having the imagination to see what could lie ahead, and achievable often with minimal effort. And don’t forget: sometimes fear is at the root of this, eating away at your motivation a little bit more every day…
Deeply engrained habits are another one of the big blockages to any level of change in behaviour, experience and life in general. The annoying thing about these is that we are probably not even aware of them because they just feel so totally natural and have become pretty much part of our emotional makeup. However, that doesn’t mean we are incapable of making changes and taking control of our internal urges, likes and dislikes.
Habits come in all shapes and sizes, from testing the car doors if they are properly closed each time before you walk away, to always unconsciously choosing the seat with your back against a wall when you walk into a restaurant.
None of these sound really terrible, but they can hold you back as much as any other habit. Let’s say you are in the habit of wearing sandals with white socks every day of the week, and you are convinced there is nothing wrong with this, you’ll be unlikely to heed any comments coming your way, because ‘you are used to people making silly comments about this’. In your eyes, THEY are being silly, you see nothing wrong with your behaviour. Everything is fine, except for that nagging feeling that something might be wrong!
You can see, fear and motivation come into play for the habits as well, forming this triumvirate of blockages that keep holding us back any way we look. In the end, it all boils down to habits, and the way we are aware of them, acknowledge them and deal with them.
The next four blog entries (each Tue & Thu for the two weeks starting 9 April 2018) will go into more detail with regards to identifying our habits and challenging them.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.