Friday, January 28, 2011

Resolution #28: Acknowledge and Challenge Resistance

Note:  Not my art.  Wish it was. Thank you to Glenn for tracking down the artists, Alex Koplin and David Melkejohn..  Keep them in art supplies by purchasing the print and get more info on their work at  h34dup.com  

OK-- back to work.  Three to go!  Finishing off the month with ways to improve our chances of making those resolutions, we have today's topic:  why it's so hard to change.

In a previous post, I talked about brain's desire to hang onto to instant dopamine hits as a reason we don't change.  Of course, it's not that simple.  We want things to be different, really we do.  But despite our intentions, we end up back in the same old places.  There are other forces at work besides chemistry.  A chief one:  we prefer predictible crap to the unknown.

Imagine you are standing at a cliff.  Wait-- make that clinging, very uncomfortably.  If you let go, maybe you fly and land in a much better place.  But maybe you just crash to a very messy end.
When faced with the big Don't Know, we tend to tell very scary stories.  The plane will crash, the relationship will end with not only a broken heart but a painful divorce.  We won't get the interview and will end up living under the bridge. 

Occasionally, parts of the story may be true.  Things may not work out exactly the way we hope, especially if we have unrealistic expectations of perfection.  Life is messy.  But rarely do they end as badly as we imagine when we can't even bring ourselves to try.  Still, to protect ourselves, sometimes we can't even get as far as beginnning to make the changes that might possibly lead us to happiness.  We repeat the same behaviors, sometimes hoping for a different ending, and sometimes just addicted to predictable ones. 

Tomorrow's post will talk about what we fear giving up.  But today, look at just the fear.  Spend a little time looking at ways you sabotage your own success.  Question whether you are trading comfort for happiness.

Related post:  What Anxiety Wants is Predictability

And instead of a song, today we have a poem.  Cheesy but powerful!
Autobiography in 5 short chapters
By Portia Nelson
I
I walk down the street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in
I am lost… I’m helpless
It isn’t my fault
It takes forever to find a way out

II
I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I pretend I don’t see it
I fall in again
I can’t believe I am in the same place
But, it isn’t my fault
It still takes a long time to get out

III
I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I see it is there
I still fall in… it’s a habit
My eyes are open
I know where I am
It is my fault
I get out immediately

IV
I walk down the same street
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I walk around it

V
I walk down another street

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