Why do we hang onto things that no longer serve us? Whether it’s a broken mug or a self-harming habit, it is a part of human nature to hang onto things. Change can be difficult, and historically and even biologically, maintaining the status quo was a big part of survival. But sometimes we hang onto situations, behaviors, things, even people, that are not healthy for us.
Many times we will tolerate a seemingly intolerable situation for years simply because there is comfort in the familiar and security of the routine. Many choose to be miserable rather than face the unknown. Why? Because change is scary! It’s hard, it’s new and different, and we don’t know what to expect. Often, in order to instigate change, a situation must become so unbearable that the pain outweighs the fear of changing the original circumstances. Sometimes this desire is brought on suddenly by a health scare or close call. Other times, it takes years of a difficult situation before that breaking point is finally reached. Either way, we can find ourselves standing on the precipice of “before” looking into the “after,” and not knowing what to do.
How does this fear of change relate to our wellness? While we may have a strong desire for a particular outcome (Fit into these skinny jeans! Run a marathon!), we often think in vague abstractions of a someday, and that’s for other people… not me…. We don’t comprehend how this “other” life looks and we don’t even believe we are capable or deserve this “other” life. Because we don’t see ourselves as deserving and capable we don’t even look at the steps involved to reach that goal.
We set ourselves up for failure before we even begin.
So what ends up happening?
We continue along with our bad situation with a sigh of resignation. We settle back into the comfortably uncomfortable. We tell ourselves it wasn’t meant to be. And then we plod along until the next crisis.
But imagine! How would we feel if we were living our lives to our full potential?
Let’s say our goal is “to get healthy.” What does that picture look like? Do we see ourselves enjoying a healthy meal full of whole foods? Do we visualize ourselves being comfortable in the clothes we wear? Do we envision a healthy relationship with food? Have we visualized what it would be like to look forward to a workout, to jog up a flight of stairs and not feel out of breath, or be able to play tag with our children?
When we get that picture in our heads, we also need to realize that we deserve to be healthy. We deserve to feel good about ourselves. We deserve to live our lives to the fullest potential.
When we give ourselves permission to change, it can be uncomfortable, but that is our first step.
Sometimes we mess up – like we forget to pack a lunch and have to raid the vending machine. But the important thing is that we plan for the next time because we know how crappy we felt after a lunch of Doritos’s and Milkyways.
The important thing is that once it starts, we keep that momentum going. Remember that this life is a journey and our body is our home and the only one we get. We should feel privileged to be the architects of our wellness, and treat our bodies with the respect we deserve. We need to give ourselves permission to take the next step.
What is your next step?
What have you been holding back on in your life?
What old ideas and beliefs have you been hanging on to that no longer serve you?
How would you live your life if you weren’t afraid?