A few months ago, my son started feeling pain in his hip after a cross country meet. He put some ice on it and did a few stretches which helped a little. I took him in for a massage and that helped a lot. But only temporarily.
Over time he got used to the pain and didn’t complain about it. Weeks went by, and then basketball season started. That’s when the pain flared up in full force and prevented him from fully participating.
I took him to the doctor, who looked at the MRI image and told him the hard truth. He had to stop playing sports and being active for 4-6 weeks. If he didn’t, his hip would never heal.
At that point, the consequences of the pain became greater than the convenience of not dealing with it.
And this is what usually happens in life. You feel a sense of discontentment or discomfort in an area of your life, but you get used to it. Over time, you accept it as the way things are. Occasionally you’ll feel a little sting, but you know it will subside if you just ignore it.
At least, temporarily.
When the pain of the discomfort isn’t stronger than the convenience of ignoring it, there’s not a lot of motivation to change. Maybe you’ve learned to just accept that broken relationship, that unhealthy habit, that never-ending debt balance, that unfulfilling job.
The idea of facing those problems head on just sounds too hard. Too uncomfortable. You want to stay in that space where you’ve learned to accommodate the discomfort by adjusting your life around it.
Change is hard. Especially if you’ve been alive on this planet for 4 to 6 decades. It’s taken you this long to learn how to dance around the dysfunction. Why deal with it now?
Because regrets are born in the slumber of apathy.
Because someday, when it’s too late, you may look back on your life and wish you had done things differently.
When you think about yourself in the future, don’t just envision what life will be like then. Also think about how you’ll feel about your past. Do you want to be at peace with the choices you’ve made? Do you want to be able to look back and be thankful for making some tough changes? Do you want to be satisfied with the legacy you’ve built?
Of course you do! Who wouldn’t?
And if you’re not fully content with every area of your life, then there’s room for improvement, right? So it’s worth it to take a good look in the mirror and determine what needs to change, so you can have the best future possible.
What have you had enough of?
When we think about change, we tend to focus on the inconvenience it brings. We don’t want to deny ourselves of something that has served us in some way for so long. For example,
If you want to lose weight, you have to give up sugar and pasta.
If you want to get out of debt, you can’t go shopping like you used to.
If you want to stop procrastinating, you’ll need to give up the excuses.
For most people, the effort isn’t worth the cost.
But what if you didn’t think of change in terms of what’s being taken away? What if you approached it from a different perspective by asking yourself one question:
What have I had enough of in my lifetime?
You don’t have to think of change as some kind of loss, or sacrifice, or something you can never do again. Instead, you can reframe the idea of change as moving on from something you’ve experienced and completed, and now you’re ready for the next thing.
We all go through different seasons in life. There’s a beginning, then there’s walking and living through it, then there’s an ending. Each one is a part of your life when you tried something for a while and you learned from it and now that part of your life is complete.
You don’t need to keep doing it because you’ve already done enough for a lifetime. Now it’s time for something new. It’s time for a new season.
For me, I’ve done enough partying in my life. I did the clubs and the dating and the drinking and getting drunk. I’ve had enough of that experience. It was a part of my life and I learned from it and it led me to the better life I have now.
And today, I’ve decided I’ve done enough procrastinating to last a lifetime. I’ve made enough excuses and I’ve experienced enough of the consequences. I learned what I needed to learn, and now it’s time to move on to something new, something better.
I’m not thinking I have to deny myself the convenience of being passive, or the freedom from meeting expectations. I’m not going to look at this new season as a time when I’ll have to give up making excuses.
Because I’m at a point in my life where that experience is now complete. I did enough of it. I don’t need to do it anymore. It’s time to move on and experience the next part of my life.
So, ask yourself these questions:
What part of my life is complete?
What have I tried, and experienced, and now I don’t need to do anymore?
What experience have I learned enough from, and now I am free to move on from it?
These questions could apply to habits, relationships, mindsets, and anything else you believe needs to be complete and closed and not experienced anymore.
Make a list
I would guess that there are at least 2 or 3 things in your life that come to mind right away. Those areas that make you think oh yeah – I’ve definitely done enough of that.
Maybe you’ve done enough hanging out with negative people, or eating sugar, or being lazy, or using credit cards. Maybe it’s time to close that chapter and start a new one.
A good way to start this process is to make a list of things in your life that are now complete. Those areas that you’ve experienced, you’ve learned from, and now you’re good. You don’t need to keep doing them. You’re ready to move on to something better.
When you’ve written down everything you want to be complete with, turn your paper over and start a list of things you want more of in your life. Things you want to experience more of, and learn more from.
I want to be done using credit cards, and I want to experience more financial freedom.
I want to be done with allowing fear to stop me from trying, and I want to experience more courage.
As you read through your first list, look at each one as complete. You can even put a check mark next to it, or cross it out. You’ve done it, and you don’t need to do it anymore.
And when you read your second list, you’re thinking of those things as replacements that will enrich your life. You should be excited about experiencing them more, and looking forward to how they’ll make your life better.
I’m done with procrastinating and not reaching my goals instead of making them a priority. And now I’m excited about getting things done and following through and I’m embracing the positive change that will bring in my life.
Put your list somewhere you’ll see it often. Remind yourself that you’re entering a new, exciting chapter and now you’re choosing things that you’re much more interested in doing.
Know your why
As humans, we each have control of our thoughts and feelings. Our decisions and our actions are a result of what we think and feel. Unfortunately, sometimes we don’t take control of our thoughts and emotions, which can lead to decisions that are unhealthy and harmful and, at the very least, not beneficial.
But when you learn to manage your mind and take control of your thoughts, the resulting actions will reflect a more disciplined behavior. You won’t be compulsive or passive or give in to spontaneous urges. You have full control over making decisions that will better your life.
Part of that mind management is knowing why you’re making certain choices. When you have a deep, emotional connection to the reasons behind your decisions, your commitment to them will be stronger.
So, as you go through the process of determining what is now complete in your life, and what you want to experience more of, be sure to do the work of figuring out why. What is that compelling emotion tied to your new decision?
If you’re a reading this blog, I assume you want greater control over your finances. Maybe you’ve chosen to be done with debt and overspending. Maybe you want to experience more financial discipline and freedom in your life.
These are great decisions that are going to benefit your life in a major way – but don’t stop there. Ask yourself why you want these things. Have a strong justification in your mind for the change. Be purposeful about connecting it to a compelling reason and a strong emotion.
Choose for yourself
Change is challenging. It will always take more effort to change than to keep doing the same thing you’ve been doing forever. So be prepared for the challenge.
But this subtle mindset shift can help you approach your new choices with less resistance. Instead of thinking you’re losing something, you can see the change as a way to gain more experiences in your life and thus make it more full.
You’ve had the previous experience, and now that’s complete, and so you’re moving on to a new experience, which will further you along the path to the person you’re meant to become.
You’re choosing more for your life, so you can continue to learn and grow from every experience that you add. But you’re also making a choice for yourself to better your life.
When you can make this shift in your mind, you’ll see that letting something go is not losing something at all. It’s when you choose new experiences that you’re adding so much more to your life.