If you read self-help advice or websites on how to make changes in your life, it often seems that change is fast and easy. But once anyone embarks on making changes, they quickly realise that things don’t go quite as quickly as planned. So it is really important to remember, when you make changes to your life, give yourself time for change to happen. You will have setbacks, you may even loose all motivation for a while. But that is just a sign that you are on the right track: it may feel like not making much progress, but you are. Don’t give up now.
There is nothing quite as powerful as remembering a U-curve when making changes, embarking on a big project or even trying to completely set your life on a different course: Why? It shows you how you will feel, and be prepared for it.
For people moving to a different culture (a pretty major change!), this is referred to as the culture-shock phase. It is well researched and so we know what often happens: People move to a new country, they discover many new things and are excited. People are often very positive at this stage.
After a while, they realise things are different and they become frustrated. Maybe start missing their old life (no matter how much better life is in the new place). Everything becomes annoying or irritating, no matter how irrational. The mood swings into very negative, often people suffer seriously at this point.
Importantly though, eventually most people will adjust to the new environment, and their mood returns to positive.
The same holds true for many other things in life, including making much smaller changes than moving countries: Take the example of going to the gym, giving up smoking, changing a habit or introducing a new one.
For example, it’s exciting to start training for a run. The first runs are exciting. After two or three weeks, it seems boring,… the weather isn’t quite right, you’ve done the route five times, it seems you’re not really able to progress…. You can imagine. Of course, trouble is, it is easy to stop it at this point. But then all your progress will be lost. But, if you stick with it, eventually running becomes natural, maybe you look forward to your runs and do your first competitive run.
It may not be quite as dramatic as the culture shock, but you can see the same “U-curve” in action.
Maybe you’ve done a few of the things from the bootcamp. Maybe started meditation. Maybe started to have more tantric connections, make changes to your life. Or maybe all of it. And maybe just about now you are starting to feel a little bored with it.
Does that mean the effort was in vain? There is a simple answer: only if you allow it to be in vain. Why? Because the most important step of any journey is always the very first one. You’ve probably stated a few steps in a direction that is right for you right now already.
The only way to make those great first steps not count is to give up now. Yes, it may feel like you have run the same track a few times. It may feel as if you have hit a bit of a plateau. You may lack motivation to change a bit more. So how do you best pull through and get to the good outcome? Here are a five tips:
1) Remember the golden rule of mindfulness: “All will pass”, including the lack of motivation or even temporary setbacks.
2) Identify and label the emotion: you are making changes. It is normal to feel disillusioned when you are making changes, or even questioning if it was a good idea. You are in the U-curve. On the way to get to the next high.
3) Remind yourself of why you made the changes in the first place. Yes, the past often looks rose-tinted, but there was a reason you made the changes.
4) Be gentle with yourself: If you make a step back, identify this. Importantly: Don’t blame yourself, just vow to do it better next time. You will get there when you are ready.
5) Gently guide your mind forward. Don’t dwell to much on the past, rather gently guide your mind to the present and remind yourself of the objective. Keep it in focus.
Hopefully with these five steps in mind, you’ll be able to progress your goals. Even if it doesn’t feel quite like you are making progress, remember, the only way to loose is to give up – always.
With that in mind, I guarantee you: one day you’ll wake up and look back and suddenly realise how far you have come.