You know the feeling when you’re behind the wheel of a car, head back on the seat rest, minding your own business, and a gigantic sneeze emerges? You think you can hold it in, but then it starts to tingle as if an ant is tickling your nostrils with a feather. Your eyes well up, you’re going 75mph on the highway, and you begin to wonder if this is how it ends. Final Sneeze Destination Pt 4. The big moment happens, and you realize that the build-up was intense, but you stayed on the road, and there were no casualties. Although this was an exaggerated example, I needed to create a scenario that would resonate with most folks. The ultimate pre-sneeze-while-driving-jitters are what it feels like when you’re trying to form a new habit. You know it’s ultimately going to be the release you need, but the immense amount of pressure in the build-up is terrifying. Why am I rambling on about a sneeze, you might ask? There’s a point, I promise!
When we decide to make a significant change in our lives, it rattles the subconscious part of our brain that has been riding on autopilot mode through old habits. Whatever the switch is in your world, it usually rocks the boat on things, and the waves come crashing in on your mental shore. Your mind starts to calculate all of the possibilities that could go wrong in the interim while you “patiently” wait for the results. This is why we usually try and hold ourselves back from change, even if the result will be deeply satisfying. It’s the unknown of how that super-sneeze will end that curbs us.
We do this because we’re all human, and we want to stay in our cozy comfort bubbles. I have to admit, it’s nice in there! But that’s the beauty of our internal dialogue. WE are the writers behind the scripts, and WE choose how different scenes play out. I, for instance, have taken to heart the concept of what it means to be sober-curious. I have spent most of my life “rewarding” myself with a drink after a stressful day, “celebrating” a joyous occasion with champagne and “curing” boredom all together with a few beers. I had alcohol so ingrained in my mindset that I wasn’t taking the time to evaluate if it was doing more good than evil. Because our society has made it socially acceptable to announce how painful your hangover is, it only makes sense that I was blindly trudging through the unpleasant aftermath. Now that I have decided to make a lifestyle change (at least for a long while), I have to be present for every single moment in my life. Without the easy escape that alcohol provided me from reality, I have been forced to sit with myself and my thoughts. And let me tell you, it has not been the most comfortable thing some days. It has, however, reminded me that I still have a sense of humor, I’m self-motivated, and am fully capable of enjoying other forms of entertainment without it.
This change is like so many other pivotal decisions in our lives. The things that we have become accustomed to are the scariest to view under a microscope. But once we build up the courage to look at the habit a bit closer, we can conclude whether or not it is contributing to positive happenings in our world. This old pattern of mine is something that I aspire to replace with other models until it becomes second nature to unwind in healthier ways.
Below I have put together a small list of steps to help develop new habits and make them stick:
+ Start Ridiculously Small. Most people want to create significant change as quickly as possible.
+ Get Hooked on Your Habit.
+ Have Clear Intentions.
+ Celebrate Your Small Wins.
+ Design Your Environment.
+ Surround Yourself With Supporters.
+ Pre-Commit To Your Habit.
Hopefully, this list will help jump-start some ideas on what old habits you want to kick and what new ones you want to invite to stay awhile. You know what they say, “out with the old, in with the new!”
A final note from Seth Godin:
“On knowing what you’re doing. It’s pretty easy to know what you’re doing when doing something that you’ve you’ve done before. Follow the path. It’s a lot more difficult when the task ahead is not quite the same as what you’ve done before. When wayfinding is required. That’s a different skill. That’s the skill of finding the common threads, seeing the analogies and leaping over the crevices, knowing how to do something you haven’t quite done before. Which sort of knowing is more scarce? Which is more valuable?”