It’s Time To Take Charge Of Your Life
How You Do Anything is How You Do EVERYthing… Think about that for a minute…. What does it really mean?
How you do anything is how you do EVERYthing.
Usually when I start talking to people about this, there’s a bit of confusion. Well actually it’s resistance masked as confusion, but I’ll get to that a little later.
This concept confuses people because they usually think about it from the context of comparing an area of their life that’s working – like their job or career for example – with an area of life that’s not working – like maybe their health and fitness. Then they look for the things they do that are similar, struggle to find anything meaningful, and then brush the concept off.
The thing is, it’s not about that. It’s not about how you procrastinate about going to the gym but seem to be fine when it comes to your work. It’s about how you procrastinate about things when they get hard. This idea is about how you do anything when it’s challenging, confronting, or new – because new is always confronting.
Check it out. Here are some examples of how people deal with “hard”:
Procrastination: Delay or postpone action; put off doing something.
Avoidance: Stay clear from; keep away from; keep out of the way of someone or something.
Control: Determine the behaviour or supervise the running of; Maintain influence or authority over; Regulate; Check; Verify.
“Beating-Around-The-Bush”: To treat a topic but omit its main points, often intentionally; To delay or avoid talking about something difficult or unpleasant; be deliberately ambiguous or unclear in order to mislead or withhold information
Confusion: Lack of clearness or distinctness; Perplexity; Bewilderment.
Resist: To withstand, strive against, or oppose; Act in opposition.
Withdraw: to draw back, away, or aside; Take back; Remove; To remove oneself from some activity, competition.
Distract: to draw away or divert, the mind or one’s attention.
If you tend to get controlling in one are of your life when things get hard (like in your personal relationships) it’s likely you do a version of that in all areas of your life when things get hard.
Stop and think about this for a minute. Let’s say you procrastinate about going to the gym but you don’t see yourself procrastinating at work. I bet if you look, you’ll see that there have been times when you’ve procrastinated about something at work when you weren’t sure how to complete it or if you’d be successful.
I bet if you get really honest with yourself you can see that you use a bunch of those previous examples all mixed up together when things get “hard”…
Just think about all the times you’ve avoided getting committed to something (new career, a degree, following a budget, a fitness plan, a diet, etc.) or someone (I mean really being fully committed) because you knew it would be “hard”.
Who wants to think they live their life with any of that stuff going on?! And who wants to admit that they do these things?
I know for me, when things get hard or challenging I have a tendency to procrastinate like crazy. Then I distract myself with something that seems to be working and that I feel like I can control. Then I tend to withdraw and figure out how I can deal with it on my own.
How you do anything is how you do EVERYthing.
The question then becomes: “What do I do about it?”
The 4-Step Solution:
What I’ve learned is those behaviours don’t actually get me anywhere. They’re all learned coping mechanisms that are simply ineffective methods of getting the results you want in life. Those ‘coping mechanisms’ don’t actually change any of the circumstances or problems – I bet if you actually look, you’ll see that in a lot of cases, they actually make the problem worse over time.
But if you learned to do them, doesn’t it stand to reason that you can unlearn them too? I think so, it just takes conscious focus.
Step 1 – Identify:
The first thing you’ll need to do is get really honest with yourself about what your coping mechanisms are. My suggestion is to start looking in the places where it’s really obvious: if you’re struggling with a diet for example, look at all the ways you sabotage following through with the diet – because diets are HARD.
You’ll probably recognize some patterns start to emerge. Then look for those tendencies in other areas of your life.
Step 2 – Acknowledge:
Once you’ve seen the tendency, you’ll need to acknowledge A) that you do it and B) what the impact of that behaviour is.
I don’t mean just quickly look at the impact: “Yep. I avoid committing to a diet so I never lose weight.” I mean you really want to look at the impact the tendency has… How do you feel about YOU when you’re letting this pattern or tendency run you? What conversations do you have with yourself about this? How do you feel every time you look at your closet, think about getting dressed, and every time you’re hungry? How does this tendency impact other areas of your life? How does it impact your relationships with other people? You really want to get familiar with how you feel here.
This is an important step for a couple of reasons. Firstly, understanding the full scope of the impact will potentially motivate you to do the work needed to change. Secondly, and more importantly, the more familiar you are with what it feels like when you’re in the midst of the pattern then you can better identify it in the future when it’s happening. That’ll set you up to start working towards doing something different.
Step 3 – Clarity:
It’s important to ask yourself what you’re getting out of doing this ‘thing’. Most people immediately say “I’m getting nothing” however human beings don’t do something unless they get a payoff of some kind – and that doesn’t necessarily mean a positive payoff.
It’s likely you’re afraid of something: failing, vulnerability, looking foolish, effort/ hard work, making tough choices, putting yourself out there, taking a risk, trying something new, pushing your limits, expanding your comfort zone, believing in yourself and your worth… the list is a long one.
Once you see what the payoff is then you can stop dancing around it and take action – push right through it.
Step 4 – Strengthen:
On the flip side of all of this is the fact that along with being skilled at hijacking or derailing yourself when things get hard, you also have some effective ways of doing things and keeping your life on track as well. If you look at your life, in the places you currently find success, you will see that you have some skills and talents that help you excel in those areas. Just like you have a familiar patterns that take you out of the game, you have some familiar skills that keep you in it:
- Asking for help
- Commitment/ stick-to-it-iveness
I’m sure if you think about it, the list goes on and on… You wouldn’t have gotten this far in your life if you didn’t have your own magic brand of mad skillzzzz to keep you moving forward. This is a place where with conscious effort you can use those skills and talents to create forward momentum when you get stuck or derailed.
Diets are hard, so I avoid, procrastinate, and withdraw… but I’m really good at organizing, communicating, and positivity so how can I apply those skills to this situation and create some positive outcomes? It’s definitely something worth looking at.
The other thing that’s important to recognize here is that you can’t “spot-train” the underlying cause of the coping mechanism. You have to address it head on at the root. Just like you can’t spot train your abs, you can’t deal with one of these types of patterns only in one aspect of your life. You have to deal with it right at the root.
I bring this up because at this time of year people usually start thinking about making some changes in their lives – even if they’re not making official resolutions, they’re looking to improve themselves. Unlearning old patterns and then developing new and healthy behaviours is one of the most challenging things you’ll ever take on.
I want you to be successful at that. I want you to finally get the life you want and deserve! I want for you to wake up knowing you’ve got what it takes to get out on the court of your life and play full out – because that’s where the joy is, on the court. Good luck with whatever you might be taking on to make some changes and if you want to talk about potential strategies for creating that in your life, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Until next time ,
PS – Seriously, I want you to be successful in your life! I want for you to have life work the way YOU want it to rather than feel like you have to “settle for the way it is” or “take it, because that’s just how it is”. I’m good at this. I’m really good at supporting people in making lasting change in their life. I’m really good at supporting people while they look at what’s not working and develop AND TAKE ACTION on strategies that truly make a difference.
I know you’ve been thinking about this for a while… 2016 and 2017 have been hard f’ing years and you’re ready for some real change. Email me and we’ll set up a FREE consult call and figure out a plan that works for you. Don’t you think it’s time to pull the trigger on that desire to truly make things better for yourself?
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