When positive changes feel like obligations…

Are your new habits starting to feel like an obligation rather than personal benefits?

It happens.

Here’s my cycle. See if you relate:

  1. I am all rested and excited about making changes and really impacting my life.
  2. I make all the plans: sticky notes, calendars, tools to track my progress to the finish line.
  3. Day 1 is great. Maybe even the greater part of the first week. It’s a bit of mental work to constantly switch my brain to new choices, but the determination is still strong.
  4. Week 2 becomes harder to force myself to make those choices, and I still do it mostly – begrudgingly – because I want those benefits that are off in the future.
  5. Week 3 becomes an “I’ll just cheat a little bit”
  6. Week 4 is “whatever, I have to live my life” and the resolution dies.

I’ve done this way tooo many times with running, for just one example…

“I’m doing the couch to 5k” because I love the idea of running. Just you and your breath and feet hitting the ground. Movement. Flow. Grace.  I get a program and a tracker and add it to my calendar.

Theeeen, it’s time to start and I’m excited. Maybe I’ve gotten new running shoes even (because you have to do it right). The first few runs I follow the program. I’ve got a lot of adrenaline and I wait for that runner high to kick in, unsuccessfully. By day 4 or 5 I am feeling ill, sore and slow.

After that this consistent magical shift happens and suddenly I have a lot on my plate and although I still make time for running, my body is still tired and I’m cranky. It becomes work -like washing dishes. It’s starting to feel like a waste of time and frankly, movement is here but flow and grace never showed up.

So then week 3 is a constant mental conflict of “you should do this” and “I don’t want to”. Week 4 is right behind with “whatever, this can’t rule my life and I am tired of putting this much effort in.”

Did I tell you I’ve been there?

Do you know what I learned after hitting my head on the wall enough times?

  1. I’m not a runner. I never will be. There may be a lot of things we think would be great and it turns out they just might not be for us. (I’ve even had professional help with this. Running just ain’t my groove and I’m a little envious over those who move to that beat.)
  2. There are many ways to get to results. Want to lose weight or lower your stress? Find a way that works with you. You don’t have to run to lose weight if running ain’t right for you. If meditation frustrates you more than releases stress, maybe meditation isn’t the way for you. Sure try things out, but if they consistently cause conflict, find another way.
    Running isn’t for me, but you know what is? Walking, dancing, yoga, kickboxing… There’s more than one way for me to feel movement, flow and grace.

So there it is again, it all comes back to how you want to feel. Not just when you’ve accomplished the results you want, but also on the way there. If we feel the way we want to feel on the way there, we will finish the goal because we stay inspired to do so.

So declare for you:

How do you want to feel this year?


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