When You Don’t Do What You Expected Yourself To Do

6 things that get in the way when we try to create change (and what to do about them).

Photo by David Clode on Unsplash

Quick Context #1: What Is It About Change That’s Hard?

Transitions aren’t the same as routine.

Quick Context #2: Not All “New” Is Created Equal

Let’s look at two types of new:

  1. translatable new (i.e. when you have some previous experience or understanding that translates to your targeted vision of the future)

Transitions require a different sort of persistence than routine requires.

It’s the persistence of taking that first step, over and over. Of returning to the foundation, and trying from there, again.

Looking Under The Hood

When troubleshooting a failed attempt to pursue something new, the following list can be a good starting point.

1. Allow What’s Old To Pass

To successfully step into whatever’s in front of you, you have to first release whatever’s behind you (whether it was good or bad). It’s important to give this step the space that it needs so you don’t inadvertently drag unnecessary baggage forward with you.

2. Define The New

Whatever your new thing is, it’s important to specify it. Otherwise, it remains a cloudy, scattered mist — and therefore can’t become real.

3. Hear Out Your Inner Conflict

You’re bound to have a variety of personalities within you that all have divergent opinions about the place you’re currently in.

4. Identify How, When, & If-Then

We love to dream, but how exactly are you going to take your steps forward?

  • This week, I will write until I’ve reached 250 words, every day at 10am.
  • If I have a scheduling conflict and can’t write at 10am on a given day, then I’ll write at 6:30pm for that day.

5. Build In Margin

The very fact that what you’re doing is new means that you can’t completely prepare for it. You will inevitably be surprised by things along the way.

6. Apply Patient Persistence

All transitions require patient persistence.

Closing Thoughts

New things always take more than we expect them to.

Your favorite athlete’s first workout was just as bad as yours.

Your favorite chef’s first meal was just as bad as yours.

Your favorite artist’s first work was just as bad as yours.

Keep going.

James Clear

Thanks for reading!

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