Simple Self-Awareness: Part Two of Three
So much to do!
I know you have a long list of things you want to tackle by now, so let’s get going! In part one
we discussed how self-awareness can help us and about two types of changes with differing demands. I also said we would dive a bit deeper into motivation and the first kind of change, being the “Creating” type, so let’s get going!
The simpler changes are those where we’re looking to create a new habit, behavior, or action. We don’t have to work on stopping one behavior or habit and then replace it with another. Stopping old habits requires much more self-awareness and practice. For this post we’ll stay simple and focus on goals that need new actions and behaviors.
How bad do you want it!?
At this point you have various changes you want to make. Take some time to write them down, if you have not already, and then circle the ones that align to the creating type. Think of the change you want to make that currently has the most mind share or is at the top of your list. Try and rate your desire to make this change between one and ten. If you’re at a five or below, then it’s time to question how bad you want it! If you’re at a six or seven, what would it take to bring up to eight, nine, or ten? If it’s actionable, then write it down and start thinking about how to move it forward. If you’re still not able to get to an eight or higher, then spend some time going through your list with this process to see if you register eight or higher.
Whether you’re having some trouble or not, what’s next is sure to create more motivation. Those of you that are still stuck around a six or seven may find your eight or higher here. What’s at risk if you don’t move forward in creating this new behavior? For some it might be rather serious. It can range from impact to relationships, health, career advancement, or finances. In other cases it may be smaller like an inability to add a second language. Take some time to think deeper about what will not happen if you’re unsuccessful in making this change. Consider all outcomes that will be affected. What might slow down throughout life? What relationships will be affected, and what’s the longer lasting effect it may have. Go ahead and write these things down on a list for later review (we’ll talk more about this in part three).
Time for action!
Now, you either have something you’re driven to change, or you’ve just learned there’s less passion around some of your goals. If the latter is true, you’ll want to spend some time reviewing your original list and work towards an eight or higher. For those of you that are ready to keep going, please take some time to write down what it looks like to be successful. What do you see yourself doing or practicing and how consistent will you be? How long do you practice? Where do you practice? Who helps you? What does it look like when you celebrate milestones? When you’re successful, happy, and fulfilled in your progress, what have you done that creates these feelings?
Great! We now have a destination and the mental fuel to get going, so now what? We need to go back to our list of what’s preventing us from moving forward. Some of the most common things are time, current health, current finances etc.. Some next steps in these cases may be time budgeting, change of diet, simple exercises, or basic financial budgeting. Despite the many books dedicated to this area I find this to be the easier part. I’m not saying it’s not challenging or or there’s no value in the teachings from these books. I’m saying there are known processes to follow that will address these kinds of problems. The need to focus on self-awareness becomes clearer during the doing phase of things.
We have met the enemy and it is us!
Let’s use learning a new language as our simple goal. To learn a new language you have to speak it out loud and preferably with others. The obvious blockers will be time to practice and people people to practice with. We’ll say we did some basic time budgeting and cut out some television shows to make the time to practice alone. We also connected with someone we knew in the community, that could speak natively, and they agreed to make time to practice with us over coffee. Things are going great, now it’s only a matter of time right? It’s during the execution where our brains and subconscious work against us with all the best intentions. Our brains are wired to keep us safe. This can mean avoiding discomfort from exercise, practicing something new, being vulnerable, etc..
What do we know about ourselves that could derail this? It may be that we have a stressful week at work and the comfort of the tv show is “needed”. Maybe we’re embarrassed of the way we sound, so we avoid practice when our confidence is not high. It could be when we practice with our friend, the feeling of being corrected does not feel good, so we avoid it. It could be that something new came up at work that needs attention, so we “conveniently” sacrifice the time we just made to learn the new language.
What’s true for many people is that we enjoy and prioritize what’s easy, what we’re good at, and what’s comfortable. On the other hand, we tend to put off and de-prioritize anything that’s uncomfortable or challenging. It’s not bad and it’s not worth judging ourselves for it. This is human nature and only natural for the brain, since it wants us to be happy, safe, and comfortable. That said, if we know our brain is working against us, how might we adapt and change?
On high stress days, we may look for ways to reduce it by incorporating mindfulness. We may avoid engaging in projects that would increase stress. In regards to not liking how we sound, we may acknowledge that we’re not where we want to be yet and that it’s part of the journey. From there we re-commit to practicing with the understanding it will come with time. What about the negative feeling associated with being corrected? We may acknowledge it and let our friend know, so they can help us stay committed while we’re practicing.
As mentioned in part one
, there’s tremendous power in involving others in your practice. Our brains do not like letting others down or admitting to others that we let ourselves down. That said, when we ask for time from others to help us, we have a tendency to show up and put in work. I always try to involve others in my change by letting them know that I’m working on it and would like feedback. In some cases they may be directly involved such as the language example I just used. Without a doubt, involving others is a force multiplier when it comes to increasing the probability of success. This is because others can reflect back the gaps we have of our own awareness.
While waiting on part three, get in touch with the change you want to make and list out what’s preventing you from success. As you start to outline the actions you need to take, spend some additional time considering what may derail you. This may be a good time to start journaling and grading your levels of stress from one to ten. This can be used to know when you’ll need to be on guard and take more precautions versus not. Practice building your awareness of when your own mind is working against you. Involve others to help build accountability with yourself.
In the next part we’ll spend more time focusing on how to deal the more challenging situations where we need to get rid of an old behavior or habit. Please take time to like us on facebook
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