Sometimes when we make up our minds to move in a new direction or to shift our habits in some way, we buy into the illusion that the intention to change is all we need to get the results we desire. We envision how it will feel once we are there and hope that the results come quickly.
Social media does not help. We often only see the pictures of success posted without the pictures of the hard work, multiple tries, and failures along the way. We can then begin to believe that failure “shouldn’t” be a part of the process or that if its difficult, something has gone wrong or something is wrong with us. But, none of that is real life.
Visualizing the target of our desires helps us to find the direction to move in, but, alas, that is only the first step. If this is as far as we get in the process, we may stand by and watch our desires fade into a mere dream.
The important next step is one of training ourselves to take consistent action toward our target. And that most often means trying, recallibrating, and trying again and again. We must do the reps. Going into this process with the understanding that it will take repetitive work and will naturally invite mental resistance to surface, will make the challenges that arise on the journey to our goals much more surmountable.
This step of committing to and following through with the new action over and over until it no longer requires so much attention and effort will test our level of desire to get the result we want.
When we make the decision to train our physical bodies to lose weight or to increase strength and resilience, we know that we must repeat the activity to get the results we want. As much as we would like, we can’t do only 1 pushup, 1 bicep curl, or 1 squat and be done. We have to make the decision to put forth extra effort and energy, to schedule the time in our day, and to talk ourselves out of taking the “easier” road of skipping it. If we want the physical results, we do the reps.
It is the same in our thoughts, emotions, and actions outside of the gym. To build habits that will move us toward feeling our best, reaching our goals, and manifesting our dreams, we must do the reps.
Our brain is made to prioritize energy efficiency and so our system will default to the path of least resistance when given the chance. Creating change and new habits takes extra effort and energy. We must mindfully override our mind’s tendency toward the default of using the most commonly run neural pathways- our old ways of thinking, doing, and being. In an effort to conserve the massive loads of energy it takes in the process of change, our brain will do its best to talk us into giving up by bringing up doubt, confusion, forgetting, or providing convenient excuses not to do the work.
Awareness that this will happen and noticing the mind’s compulsion to return to old ways of thinking can help us to resist the urge to buy into those thoughts. We can then more easily find the motivation to put forth the extra effort needed to create the new habit and over time, that new habit will become the norm, no longer requiring the extra energy.
It’s about practicing over and over. Trying again and again and refining as we go. As we build the “muscle memory” through reps, we lay the foundation for our new pattern to become automated, easier, and more energy efficient over time. If we can plan to have to do the reps, we can more successfully reach our goals.
This week, I invite you to notice what dreams or goals you have envisioned and never taken action toward. Choose one small step you can do consistently starting today to move toward your target. And remember that it doesn’t have to be perfect and trying again and again will build your strength.
I will be trying right along with you.
Chat again soon,