To achieve true and lasting fulfilment in life, think, talk and live outside every box that you have ever been taught to believe in. – John P Smith
I am a great creature of habit. I like finding routines that work for me and sticking to them. I like to park in the same place when I go shopping. I want to follow the same exercise routine. I tend to order similar food each week in my online order. These practices give me a sense of familiarity and allow me to feel I have some control over myself and my life
Being a creature of habit has many advantages: when we ingrain good practices into our daily routine, we don’t waste mental energy thinking about them. We just do them, and this makes us productive. We can trust ourselves to do the things we need to do each day, or each week, because they are just what we do. Also, we get to know what works, and what doesn’t work for us.
Ultimately though our life is about our growth, evolution and fulfilment. It is about breaking out of the boxes we have planted ourselves within; expanding the bubble that surrounds us that contains our beliefs about what is possible for us and what is not, and being willing to take risks and shatter our self-imposed limitations.
This is where the challenge lies: we get comfortable and feel secure when we follow our pre-determined practices even if they don’t work for us. To be free from them takes effort, a willingness to experience some suffering and to take risks. Not an attractive proposition for most of us!
So how can we get beyond our zones of comfort and ingrained behaviours?
Here are some suggestions:
• Have a strong desire. Unless there is a big enough desire attached to the growth we want, it will be impossible to keep going when the going gets tough. Our clarity and longing for what we want to achieve are essential to keep propelling us forward when some element of physical, mental or emotional pain kicks in. Otherwise, discomfort and apathy creep in and gently take us away from our aspirations.
• Believe you can achieve the change you want. Your beliefs can be another area of inner conflict for as much as you may consciously think you can fulfil our chosen intentions and fully deserve them, your subconscious mind may have other plans for you. To fully align your mindset with your objectives takes self-understanding, mindful awareness and a willingness to look at your inner dialogue and your sincerely held beliefs to ensure they both support your new intentions.
• Journal about your underlying thinking. On your journey towards expanding your thinking and behaviours towards a goal, it is essential that you take time to review your more profound thoughts and motivations in your journal. Keep questioning why you believe a particular thought pattern and then place a more mature, grounded perspective on it. If you are unsure what you think about an area where you want growth, write down every point of view you hold about it, and your subconscious concepts will be revealed to you. Those ideas will need questioning and evolving to allow you to proceed because, without the right mindset, growth will be virtually impossible.
• Accept your inner diagnosis and move beyond it consistently. Once you know the attitudes that are limiting you in any area, affirm a new concept of yourself and what you are capable of. Then, take steps to embrace it continually. This is where your focus should be: acting from a new reality. Keep disproving your old thinking, regularly writing down your actions that do so, until you can know it is no longer part of your psyche.
• Have support for your growth. Growth can be difficult because our patterns of behaviour are so established. We need an outside person like a coach or mentor to keep us moving consistently towards our vision and offering support when we are up against our inner demons. The temptation to give up, to stop and to allow comfort to overwhelm us is so great, and this is why a supporter on your journey, for the duration, is essential.
• Keep breaking your patterns. Be mindful that your inner restrictions are holding you back in every area of your life. This sounds negative, but it is true. Until we are willing to create change, embrace the new and challenge our patterns of behaviour, we will remain stuck.
Take time to reflect on your desires and aspirations and also what limitations you have placed on yourself through your thinking. Revise your habits and see if they are of value to you or if they need upgrading. Remember, there is always a benefit to staying still. It’s called comfort, and you love it!
If you want a fulfilling life, it is essential to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and to gently nudge yourself outside every box you have ever been taught to believe in!