How do you get actual long term changes in your life?
Updated: Nov 23, 2019
So here is something I have to admit, for years I had dreams, dreams that never became reality.
Dreams about living a certain way - a way that was counter cultural and didn't measure success the way I had traditionally been taught to measure success.
Dreams of doing my own business my own way - where I was more focused on impact and not bottom line.
Dreams where I was surrounded by people who were vastly different then me, that caused me to challenge my own thinking, instead of only being comfortable around people "like me."
Dreams of letting my spirituality be a way of life, instead of something that I tapped into only when I "needed" it.
Dreams of awareness, of being awake, and living life intentionally - instead of just doing the status quo
I remember going through my days in a fog, thinking there has to be more to it then this.
And then I did something that seemed helpful at the time, and maybe in someways it was helpful, but it was mostly detrimental!
You know how something can be both, helpful and a hindrance, the path and the stumbling block? Well, this was one of those things!
What was it that I did?
I dabbled...I dabbled in "self help!"
I read the occasional book, i listened to the occasional CD (yes, I'm that old, and yes it was that long ago, to be honest when I started my first self help stuff was on cassette tape!!) I went to the occasional self help seminar - where I gave half an effort and if anything pushed me too far or seemed too uncomfortable to do I just put it off as something I would do "someday.!"
And you may think to yourself, as I did, "Well, at least you're trying!"
But I'll be honest, I was only making it worse!
When we "try" at things we can fool ourselves into thinking we are making changes when really we are just making life a little easier to bare because we believe the lie that "trying" is what will get us to the life we envision.
It's like posting all those cute instagram quotes that you want to live up to, but you know you don't.
They don't help you, instead they convince you that you're doing something when really you're not! You're posting your ideal, not living up to your values and beliefs.
They convince you that you're making a difference, when really all they are doing is helping you tolerate your life a little better, never feeling the full weight of your discontent, and therefore never doing what it takes to make real lasting change!
Many of us do the same thing when we go on vacation - vacations help us to endure our lives because we get a break from the every day humdrum.
but it's not fixing our every day humdrum, which is what we are really craving!
It just causes us to be able to hold on to mediocre for a little while longer!
What we actually need to do is to stay home and make the changes in our lives, to work on the things that cause us to "need" the vacation in the first place!
This is also true for some of us who "live for the weekends" which is a mini vacation from our everyday life.
The answer is not to give ourselves reprieve, the answer is to let us feel the full discomfort or even pain so that we are forced into action.
And that's what I came to realize about "self help", you can't just play at it.
You can't play at becoming the best you that you can be and expect amazing results.
Playing at it was hurting me, it was making me feel like I was doing something when really I wasn't and that was a hard reality to wake up to.
So what changed it for me?
How did I actually start to make real lasting changes in my life, and how did I actually start experiencing my life differently?
I went all in!
For those of you who are familiar with Tony Robbins, "I burned the frickin' boats!"
Becoming a person who truly lived my values became an obsession!
It became all consuming!
Now here is something very important - that did not mean I woke up at 5:30 every morning, worked 16 hour days and never let myself take a break!
That didn't mean that I never had a Netflix and chill day, or never indulged in my love for chocolate!
It didn't mean that for two reasons, the first being that those weren't my goals and second, (and most importantly) being 100% committed didn't mean I was 100% perfect.
What it meant as that I became addicted to making progress a must!
What it meant was that I saw the difference between what I was doing that just enabled my life to continue on the way it was and what I needed to do to make real concrete changes.
And then I worked daily on closing that gap!
What it meant is that I fully leaned into the discomfort of my life, and used it as fuel instead of comforting myself with the idea of "trying".
It meant I stopped making excuses for not living up to my standards, if I wanted something more I worked towards it in my real life right now, instead of just talking about all the things I was going to do someday in the future.
And if I got off track, I would immediately do something that reignited my passion for living out my dreams!
So when I worked I was all in, not text message checking or web browsing.
But when I was Netflix and chilling I was also all in!
It meant not just people pleasing and yes ma'aming it, but using my voice to speak up!
It meant creating community with people who were very different than me, and letting them help me grow, instead of trying to make them fit with my ideas.
It meant doing my spirituality in a ritual that fit me, not in some preprogrammed sense that had no affect on my heart.
It also meant doing work that I shared without thought of return, trusting instead that my contribution counted more than my bank account and loosing the attachment to the things I thought I had to have. This was my favorite lesson to learn because I learned the joy of non attachment and minimalistic living which has helped me make a difference with where I choose to spend my money, and how I can make a difference not just to those close to me but to my global family!
Going all in and being 100% committed is the only thing that has made a long lasting difference in my life!
So what are you ready to give 100% too?
Commit and then accept nothing from yourself except that!
And you will have finally 'cracked the code' on how to get real lasting change in your life!
Giving 100% is also the fastest way to know if you are on the right path.
If you are giving 100% in your life right now or you begin to and you are not feeling joy and fulfillment, then that is a sure fire way to know that you need to make some drastic changes in our life!
And being able to acknowledge that is giving yourself an amazing gift - because it is never to late to figure out a new dream!
So take a moment right now, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and commit!
Commit to that thing you always wanted to do, that person you always wanted to be, to that life you always wanted to live, and then go out there and take the steps to make it happen!