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Monday, November 16, 2009

All coming together - Part 1

I have been spending a lot of time analyzing and meditating about new habits vs. old habits, on healthy habits vs. less healthy habits. I keep returning to the reality that we all live in relatively set patterns. Patterns or paradigms that we create and that over time become more and more engrained. We often recognize these but rarely do we accept the responsibility for why they are what they are. We have a tendency to make excuses or blame other forces for why we live the way that we live. To rarely we use sentences that include “(something) is the way it is because I choose it to be” or “(something) happened as a result of the choices that I made”. Instead we say things like “(so and so) did this and so it turned out poorly” or “this keeps happening because of my boss or my co workers”. How often do we really honestly, and I think that honesty is the real key here, assess what our role is in our own life? If we are unhappy unsuccessful, coming up short or repeatedly doing something we are not proud of, who is responsible? I would dare to say that when things work out well, we are much more inclined to take credit then when things turn out poorly. Excuse making and the language that we use in both our internal and external dialogue are a different topic that I have spent a lot of time on recently but today I would like to discuss our roles in shaping our reality.

I will try to make this as much about me as possible. I think it is integral that we truly desire to change our paradigm if it is to have any chance of changing. You, reading this, may be very happy with your situation or life, or might not be in the right head space to desire to stop and think about it, so I will focus on me and you can take from it what you like.  I want to change my ways of doing things. I want to cut out some of the old unhealthy thoughts, actions, phrases, people, etc that contributed to my being less than optimally healthy and successful. I do not blame anyone or anything for my health or well being. It is nobody else’s responsibility to make or keep me happy and healthy, it is entirely my own. I make choices everyday, all day, that shape my existence and create my reality.

I would suggest that making decisions to repeat behavior is easier than making the decision to eliminate a bad behavior. That the potential pain of making a change often seems greater than the downside attached to repeating a poor behavior, this may not be true, but it is our measurement of it that matters and therefore our own responsibility. If I return to a previous topic about pleasure seeking and pain avoidance, this aligns very well, we view the old pattern as less painful even though that is likely to be untrue. It is the process of changing that we view as the truly painful part. It is no secret that we typically resist change. Even though the something off in the future looks and smells and likely is better and healthier, that uncomfortable road of changing might not seem to be worth it.

I feel like a lot of what I have been thinking about has suddenly come together and I see clearly how it all interacts.

We may or may not want to change. If we do, we then have decide that we want it badly enough to actually outline what that change looks and feels like, and measure it as being worthwhile enough to explore. If we decide to venture down the road of change, we are then open to that experience being uncomfortable and therefore we might stop and decide it is too much, and return back to the old habit because we could not handle the discomfort. This is very key because if we take the time to be honest about this, we can better prepare ourselves for this uncomfortable period. We can say to ourselves “This time of change will be uncomfortable but it will be worth it”, “Once I take that leap there should be no looking back” etc etc. after all once you have made the leap the worst is usually over and you’ll have to re endure the discomfort again if you ever decide to try it again.  (I know this is getting long but I need to keep rolling here while it’s flowing out). If we are on the road to change, and we know it is going to be difficult, what tools could we take with us to help us through what are prepared to be difficult? We could take people that will inspire us? A written page that outlines the goal we are trying to reach and in such a wonderful honest way that we would endure any difficulty to attain it. We could vilify the old habit or pattern as so negative that we would never dare repeat it again. Maybe we should do a little of each of these.

I am on the road to change right now. I am glad and lucky to be on it but I am noticing old behaviors that desperately want to sneak back in. It is uncomfortable at times. I feel the ghosts of old habits calling from behind me telling me how easy it was to be that way and that it “wasn’t so bad anyways”. I find situations that create a certain smell in my nose or feeling in my body that I relate to comfort and it would be so easy to just stop moving ahead and just relax and enjoy easy and comfortable. There is nobody off in the distance saying, we are already here and it is awesome, keep working, you can do it. These are my goals so how could anyone else be there already? I need to be so sure that I want to be better and happier that my motivation is enough on its own. I need to make those old patterns of living unacceptable and be absolute. I realize now that discipline is everything when you’re on the road to a change. Honesty is a requirement to real change. Devotion to your becoming better and reaching your goals is a necessity. Anything short of these things will open the door to failure, allow the old demons in and begin a pattern of failure that will make you more likely to second guess yourself and less likely to try again each time you fail. This is what I am learning and becoming more sure of. It is a big topic for me and I have gone on quite a bit for one day so I’ll stop and make this part 1 and complete my thoughts after some more meditation.

Thank you all for reading and supporting me on the journey that I am on.

1 comment:

  1. Jim,

    I enjoyed the short time we have had together making the STX/BYU Partnership a reality for this coming year. I have been following your situation via facebook for a few months, and wanted to let you know I appreciate the stuff you are writing and your positive outlook on life. As someone who deals with significantly less trials in my life than you (or maybe just different trials) I find your attitude and outlook inspiring.

    I am excited to continue working with you and the STX family. Keep up the good work. There are probably countless other people beside me who find some sort of inspiration in your writing.


    Jordan Harris
    BYU Lacrosse