Motivation - What Does True Change Require?
"We know what we like and we like what we know." - Oh boy did Bee Wilson hit the nail on the head with this one simple statement. As people, we are resistant to change and we crave routine and comfort. Changing our habits (especially our food habits!) is incredibly difficult because the urges we feel to satisfy ourselves are a mystery deep within us. But change is possible - we do it all the time!
I am one week into The 5am Club, and it has been incredibly challenging. I am exercising my ability to change my habits to improve my life and achieve my goals. This is a concept that up until recently was completely foreign to me. I used to think that I was who I was and I would deal with life based on this permanence of self. Boy, how wrong I was!
I was reminded of the book First Bite by Bee Wilson while I was reflecting on our innate capacity for change. This book deals with food and how over our lifetime we develop eating patterns and habits that can be self-limiting, detrimental to our health, yet still open for positive change. She very eloquently said: "it would help if we stopped seeing our personal likes as such a deep and meaningful part of our essence'. It got me thinking about how I always told myself that I was a night owl, or how I always said I don't like foods like brussel sprouts. We often take our habits or likes and dislikes as facts about who we are. These self-imposed limitations can lead to unimaginable repercussions as time goes on.
But how do we start to shift this rigid thinking of who we are and what we are capable of? Wilson states that "..neither fear nor advice is a good motivator for change". We all know that feeling when a person shares their unsolicited opinion on your situation or routine. Ugh, I'm sure you can hear it now! That o-holier-than-thou crap that has you immediately rejecting what they are saying no matter its validity. I'm sure you have also experienced those who use fear to initiate change. Doctors or well-meaning friends and family members concerned for your health and your future - going about it in all the wrong ways. This often feels more like manipulation than it does genuine help.
These are the hard facts: Only you can motivate yourself to change. Only you can take the steps necessary to enact real and meaningful change. Only you can strengthen your desire and resolve to change by exploring your inner self. The hardest questions for us to answer are usually the ones that ask us what we truly want. Most people have given themselves little (to no) time to actually explore their deepest dreams, hopes and desires for their lives. We often live each day going through the motions because it is easier than believing we have the capacity for change. Only when we dive deep inside of ourselves to find those answers, will we start to make meaningful and lasting changes that will improve our lives. What you truly want is likely different than the person next to you. It could be improving your health, writing a book, achieving financial stability, going back to school, changing careers, etc. Only when you know what you truly want in life can change proceed in a meaningful way.
This 5am club challenge is more than a battle of wills between me and my beautiful cozy bed. It is a stand I am taking for myself and my future self. I am giving myself the gift of time to explore what I truly want for my life. What motivated me to do this? I have found great knowledge and inspiration through reading and self-education. I also often seek out those in my life who are smarter than me, those I am inspired by and encouraged to make positive changes. I work daily to create an external environment that is predicated on self-improvement and challenge. I have also started to focus more intently on my internal environment; how my thoughts, feelings, and associations influence my happiness and success. It is a work in progress, but isn't that what life is all about?
This process does not happen overnight, it may not even make sense right now. Wherever you are at in this moment, I encourage you to think about what you really want in life. What will make you feel fulfilled? Have you been feeling stuck? How important is it for you to change? What would it take for you to take the first step and try something different?
Remember that only you can motivate yourself to create the life you have always wanted!
Seek out people and resources that will help you achieve your goals, and beautiful things will start to unfold.