A week ago I decided to dedicate 30 days to taming the over-protective inner monster that kept me hiding and procrastinating instead of jumping into the fray and taking my life to the next level. I was to start small and just pay attention to things I normally wouldn’t give a second thought to. Here’s how it’s going.
What I did:
I set aside my bad mood for a moment of playfulness and ended up changing my entire day.
I’ve been literally wearing my “professional” shoes out and about instead of my “day job” shoes.
I’ve been going to bed on time instead of the fun and easy (and usually regrettable) “one” glass of wine.
I’ve been interacting with creative rebels and running around town on foot.
I made a bold initiation instead of waiting forever for permission.
I allowed myself to wait instead of acting out of anger and discovered that I was stronger for it.
I consciously made the effort many times a day to try a new perspective.
Bonus: I touched a gross alligator-lizard skin that I discovered outside and found that it wasn’t that scary. (After much encouragement).
What I discovered:
Comfort Zones begin inside our heads. It’s less about conquering our discomfort and more about understanding why we are hiding and repeating actions with undesirable consequences in the first place. It all starts with awareness.
My actions often don’t mirror what I claim to be my priorities. I am working on this.
Often the secret is thinking less. Less worrying and “but what if”, and more focus on taking it moment by moment. Quality thoughts over quantity.
Little things make the biggest impacts on ourselves and others. Momentum creates momentum.
New ways of thinking are a practice. It’s never about being perfect and not backsliding.
I am fully responsible for my attitude and outlook.
When I set my priorities and mindset straight, the previously uncomfortable things are much easier and more enjoyable to do.
Things aren’t always what they seem — we just see what’s running through our heads.
My take thus far:
I did start off feeling apprehensive. It felt like I was about to force myself to do things that I wouldn’t normally do, which I thought was the point. I figured that I could just push myself out the door. Push myself to get out there. Push myself to produce more, act more, risk more.
What I discovered was that when I started making little changes in my mentality — just little tweaks here and there — doing the little things that I wanted to do to get out of my comfort zone came easily. I actually felt more inclined to want to do it instead of mustering up the energy to force myself to do it.
Making a conscious decision not to surrender to my negative thinking made such a noticeable impact on my outlook that it really brightly colored the rest of my week. I kept reminding myself, “it’s just my thoughts right now”. It really made me realize that the biggest comfort zones are ALL in our heads. Nothing gets done if we are mentally blocked or resistant or in a rut. Nothing gets changed unless we begin with our minds.
And that’s the thing — when I’m actually relaxing into and even enjoying the outer zones, THAT is the momentum that will keep me going and progressing further and further.
It didn’t always feel good. It took a lot of awareness and reminding myself that nothing has gone wrong, it’s just different.
So attitude really is everything, or more specifically the thinking behind it. It’s one thing to ‘get’ it mentally, and another thing to actually experience.
So it’s beginning to solidify now… It’s about using our minds creatively — to stop and notice the little details in our thoughts, our little automatic reactions and practice thinking outside the box. New perspectives, new ideas, new ways of thinking and reacting. It’s about honing the mind and using it to the best of our ability — to keep it fresh and up-to-date with our priorities.
It’s not all about the big goal. It’s about the vehicle that I am approaching it all in. My job is to get my mindset (and thus life approach) up to a place where I can then take to my endeavors with all the gusto I need so I can be that best version of myself.
I saw that my inner ‘comfort monster’ wasn’t so much an angry over-protective beast as it was a fearful and cowering creature. It should have been obvious. I’ve been feeding myself so much doubt and shame that I had backed myself into a corner and felt good staying there. Now it’s about changing that method to awareness, compassion, experimentation, and patience.