STOP Doing That! (How to Stop Doing the Thing We Know is Holding Us Back)
We all know the definition of insanity: You keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.
So why do we keep doing that one thing that is getting in our way?
In short: change is hard and whatever we are doing is (fairly) easy - or at least "known." It is a bit of a math equation: we keep doing the things that we know we need to stop doing until the pain of change is less than the benefit of the change.
It is why we continue to procrastinate even though we know the report is still due on Friday. Or break our commitment to leave work by 5:30 just one more time. Or we think organizing the linen closet will help us feel in control of the chaos all around us.
Often, when we try to tackle behavior change, we look at the surface behavior and try to will it to be different. Surprising, that rarely works.
So what is the answer? We have to understand the WHY behind the behavior. Only when we understand WHY we do what we do can we begin to address the right issue.
Why do we stay at work late night after night, even though we say we want more time with our family? Why do we leave tough tasks to the last minute, frustrating our teammates and causing undue anxiety? Why do we think folding the impossible to fold fitted sheet will make us feel more in control of the chaos surrounding us?
Start here. Think of something you want to do differently. Envision what you want.
Then, ask yourself why you are not doing it differently?
Ask yourself again: Why really?
And, ask it a third time: No - really why? REALLY why do you do this?
The goal here is to get at the ROOT of the issue. Is it a fear of disappointing others? A desire to be liked? Perfectionism? A fear of failure or risk?
Here is the secret: Only when you really understand what keeps your trapped in your habit can you hope to sustainably change it.
If you begin to understand that your fear of disappointing those in authority is forcing you to stay later than you would like (which means you are disappointing your family), you can begin to check in to see if this fear is valid. Is it healthy? Is it the way you want to live your life?
So, what is holding you back? What is it really? (Really?) Sit with the question - and the answer.
Here's to finding the deeper answers that will drive us to be and do better!