Feel Good About Yourself
Keep Your New Year Resolution? they say they are broken so often, they seem to be made to be broken.
Here is an article that I'd like you to read if your overall sense of life and your important areas of life is that they are stressful, and that you are never getting ahead. When you re-evaluate your projects with the method taught in this article, you will feel good about yourself, because you will keep more of your resolutions.
The method in this article can make a huge difference, and the time it takes is very small compared to you being stuck for a long-long time.
Joe (not his real name) made a new year resolution to stop smoking. He set the date, and he made a plan. Then he started to implement his plan. The plan was to gradually cut down. Then he kept on smoking.
We had our usual coaching call on Wednesday at noon. I asked: what would you like to accomplish in this call?
Joe started to talk about his weight... that one day he lost a pound, the other he gained 2... He weighed himself upon awakening every day, and he was mortified at the up and down nature of his daily weight. He was spending a lot of time worrying about that, he confessed.
Once he was done complaining about his weight fluctuation, he went on to talk about his business numbers: one day he had 5 sales, the next nothing... what's up with that?
Then he said, with a big breath, no wonder I can't follow my plan and stop smoking. Life is too stressful.
From where Joe is looking, he is justified to be stressed, anxiety ridden, maybe even depressed... but maybe the problem is the point of view... i.e. where he is looking at his life. What context he is looking through... This is what this article is about, changing the point of view, so you can keep your new year resolution, and start feeling good about yourself.
When we are up to something, like having a big plan that takes weeks if not months to accomplish, there is the long term and the short term way to look at what's happening.
On the short term, ups and downs, zigzags, can one day elevate you only to drop you the other day...
After a few of those drops only the die-hard stays in the game... the rest of them give up and start looking for a new goal. The right one, this time...
The 1-2% that stays in the game has a unique perspective (context): they can actually change focus, and can go from the small picture to the big picture easily, just like I was taught in architecture school to do: you need to alternate your focus if you want to create something big that is also correct in the details.
This process has two parts:
- being able to remember what is the purpose you had in mind when you came up with the project, like the stop smoking project, something glorious, like a healthy life, feel good about yourself, or
- something that fixes the negative consequences of not doing anything about and continuing smoking, like chronic diseases, a general malaise, the stink, and the feeling enslaved by a habit, just to mention a few.
On the short term, the immediate calming effect of cigarette outweighs the long term goals, so it is easy to lose sight of them, to ignore them, in the moment.
But if you can look at every decision with the two different sets of glasses, you won't get stuck in myopic ways of looking at it, and you will be able to forgo the momentary apparent gain and stick with the long term goal.
Judging from the conversations I have with clients and friends, having a myopic view of your life is a very widespread way to become ineffective in life and not feel good about yourself.
If you often yourself ineffective in accomplishing your goals this way, do this exercise:
The exercise will use two pieces of paper.
On the first draw a horizontal line on the top of the paper. That is going to be the time-line.
Make seven little vertical ticks spaced out evenly.
Write under the ticks, in this order the following words:
1 second, 1 minute, 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year, 10 years.
Then write down the good things and the bad things you will experience: first if you don't accomplish the project, and next if you do.
For example, smoking, in 1 minute you may feel proud (good) have an urge to smoke (bad). In 1 hour you will be able to write down a win of 1 hour/shame but a momentary calming of anxiety.
Try to really look. If you find it difficult, observe yourself for a day or two.
Once you are clear about the short term gains and pains, get a sheet of paper and fold it into half, and then fold it again.
When you unfold it, you should have four quadrants on the page separated by fold marks.
In the first quadrant write the list of good feelings you will experience in 1 sec, 1 min, 1 hour, etc. if you continue the current behavior (like smoking, like not getting up when the alarm goes off, like not paying your bills on time...
In the second quadrant write the list of the bad things you will experience if you continue the current behavior.
In the third quadrant write the good things that will come out of changing the behavior
In the fourth quadrant go the bad things you will experience as a result of changing the behavior, at 1 sec, 1 minute, 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year, 1 decade...
When all is said and done, you will see clearly what side you want to choose: change the behavior or not.
Then make a decision, make a commitment, and do not allow the short term result to swing you either way. You have decided by looking at the big picture. You saw the pains, so the gains, and chose.
Get support, get a coach, use all the tools that are available to you.
Your life is waiting. You can start it until you feel good about yourself.