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WARNING: Improving Your Quality Of Life Is Painful! DON’T QUIT!
Have you ever made the commitment to workout, only to quit the next day due to the pain you felt?
Have you made the commitment to turn your passion into your career and now all of a sudden things are happening in your life that make you question your decision?
If your answer to either of the previous questions was “yes”, please know … you are not alone!
It amazes me how whenever I make the decision to do something positive in my life, that will ultimately improve my quality of life … it causes pain! I’m not just talking about the physical pain you experience after lifting weights or running down the road. I’m also talking about the pain of mental discomfort we all feel as we begin working on establishing new habits.
I just finished reading a fascinating book on neuroplasticity which helped me understand why this happens. Now, I understand you may not feel the urge to run on home and curl up next to your fireplace to dive into a book on brain science, so I’ll just fill you in on what I learned. 🙂
If a child was born into a family where the parents completely neglected or abused the child for the first several years of their lives (referred to as the “critical period”), and eventually the child was removed from that situation and placed into an extremely loving and nurturing environment, that child, although their new circumstances were absolutely perfect in comparison to the situation they were removed from, would experience a high level of pain.
That may seem ridiculous when you first think about it, but that’s all that child knew and anytime you make a change to what you’re used to, it’s going to be painful until you get used to it.
Personally I don’t think the above example is any different than how we are as adults. In fact, I believe many of us have “those voices” in our head which are just as harmful to us, as the situation that poor child was subjected to. The fact that we’re beyond our critical development period as adults, DOES NOT mean we can’t successfully make the change to our lives. You can get beyond the pain!
When you are making positive changes that will ultimately improve your quality of your life, you may experience one or more of the following things:
Your mind may begin to make the smallest of obstacles seem enormous and you may begin to believe they are insurmountable. I’d like to tell you that your brain is simply lazy and will do anything possible to stop you from making changes but…
Fortunately (or unfortunately) your brain simply clings to habits that you’ve formed through repetitive action and decision making. It’s simply attempting to reinforce the “old rules” you’ve put in place from doing the same thing (or nothing at all) for an extended period of time. When you find yourself thinking it’s just too challenging … press on! The more often you do this the easier it will become. It is possible to “teach an old dog new tricks!” You can do it! 🙂
You might feel anxiety about your lack of time. I mean heck … You’re way too busy doing a job you hate to find the time to follow your passion which will ultimately lead you to a happier life. Right? Sounds silly doesn’t it? Every single person on earth has the time, or can find the time, to pursue anything if it’s important enough to them. So … is being happy and having an amazing quality of life by pursuing only things that you’re passionate about important enough to you to find the time … or would you rather be miserable? 😉
You may fall into the “it must not have been meant to be” trap. Everything happens for a reason right? Perhaps, but just make sure you don’t confuse the message. Tension doesn’t always mean something wasn’t “meant to be.” It could simply be a sign that you may need to modify your course a bit while still moving forward. Personally I think too many people cling to the “it must not have been meant to be” as a reason to quit. I think it’s just an excuse and I’m not falling for your “reasoning away” your lack of commitment. 🙂
I know some of the things I’m saying may sound harsh, but I’m ok with that. These are the same things I keep in mind as I begin to slip on my path, and it helps keep me on track and making forward progress. One of the easiest ways to regulate the negative affects of these very normal stages in your improvement process, is to make sure your reason is BIG enough.
Spend some time thinking and writing about how your life will look once you’ve successfully made the transition and have fully adopted your new habits. Once those new neural pathways have been established, it’ll be just as painful and challenging to go back to the old way of thinking. [DISCLAIMER: I am not a Doctor … I just spent the weekend sleeping in a Westin Heavenly Bed, there wasn’t a Holiday Inn Express in close proximity. 🙂 ]
If you’ve experienced any other challenges along your new path, or if you can think of any other ways to help other people reading this post or having these difficulties … please leave a message below. Until next time … PRESS ON!
Pete, very insightful! Thanks for the blog…I better get movin! 🙂
Really enjoyed this Pete! Very Insightful for sure…things you just don’t think about. Thanks…love to get together with you in person for lunch one of these days….best!
Thanks Kim! I’d love to grab lunch.
It’s a great reflection of the “Lizzard Brain” and how it effects people when making a decision that could be life altering. Going back to the safety net seems like the best option almost all the time – but it’s the people who talk themselves out of the slumps get the most out of life. My suggestion – get an accountability partner who can help you through the slumps if you’re not strong enough to do it yourself. Thanks again Pete!