Every journey begins with a single step. While I’m not sure who said this originally, I am sure that it is true.
Most of us start many different journeys through out life. and I am no exception. Each and every one of them started with the first step.
I wasn’t one of those people who had some big “ah-ha” / light-bulb moment where I spontaneously realized that I was tiered of my life. I just came to realize over time that I was dissatisfied, and un-happy. I felt “stuck”
I had grown a fear that by the time I reached 30 years old I would still feel like I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up?!!!!?!?
Wether you have a light-bulb moment or a soft prompting in your heart like I did, recognizing that something needs to change is the first step. If you are reading this you likely already have taken that step on the path back to yourself.
That means you’re doing awesome already!
You’ve taken the first step! Go on and celebrate that.
Yup, I did that, and promptly stalled for 3 years-ish.
Don’t get me wrong, I would randomly kick my own but to go do something to make my life better. And for a bit I would be all gung-ho.
And seemingly randomly I would feel the need to hide away and lick my wounds (normally) when the plan didn’t go as…. well…. planned.
I had absolutely NO confidence and a brain full of fear.
It was scary, and confusing and it felt like I kept trying to make what I thought was the first step a lot longer then I really needed to.
If a Journey starts with a step, then a new life starts with a new thought.
Yup, I’m going there.
The big problem with “officially starting a new journey” is that you are looking at this big sometimes scary change that can highly impact your life.
Our brains are wired to see major changes as a bad thing, and to fight against the change. On top of that the people around you will also fight you because you are changing things in their life too.
After all you fit in what ever little box they put you in, NOW you are saying you are climbing out and not going to be defined by it again. That scares them.
SO how do we get away from the fear?
By starting a new thought.
I don’t actually recommend “announcing” that you will be changing what ever it is you plan to change. Especially if you are in an abusive relationship.
All that does is alert the other person that they will have to work a little harder at breaking you down again and makes your life that much worse. (in some cases it can be dangerous so please DON’T tell them or anyone that might tell them what you are up to)
So you have a new thought, now you need to make it grow to become multiple thoughts.
It’s not the easiest thing on the planet to do, but it can be done.
You see most of the thoughts we have are “recycled”, they come up to our conscious brain from our subconscious when they are triggered or randomly based on what is floating around down there.
Our subconscious thoughts are the ones we need to change to make a permanent change.
It sounds scarier then it is I promise.
To make your new thought grow there are a couple of things that can work, so play with them, try them for a few weeks each before moving on. You may need to use more than one, or a sequence for it to finally work for you.
Here is the process I go through.
- Define the new thought
- Post it every where.
- Meditate/Pray on it
- Daily Affirmations
- Re-asses – do I still want this?
- repeat with the next one.
Lets break that down a little bit more.
1. Define the new thought
What do I want to change?
Mostly I ask myself what I want to get rid of, in the example above I wanted to get rid of the fear that was holding me back.
Sometimes you will need to ask the question multiple times.
When you are first starting out, start small. You want a couple quick wins to get the ball rolling.
You may want to get rid of all your fears, right now. And it’s tempting to say that this one new thought will fix “everything”.
I’ll be honest, I’ve tried that, didn’t work for me. If it does for you I’d love to hear about it! Please let me know,
But for the rest of us, we will need to take the journey 1 step at a time. The road may be long, but we can make it to the destination.
If you come up with more than one, feel free to make a list somewhere that you can go back to.
So pick one, any one make it something small to start with and grow from there. Of course as you have more practice with this you will be able to tackle the bigger ones, and often the things we think are crazy scary now won’t be so scary later as we work through this.
But only pick one.
For this article I’m going to go with the fear of speaking up and speaking out.
(For me this is an intermediate one, I’ve been working on it for some time already but it fits this process)
Now this can be hard to define (not that finding a fear or other thing to change isn’t but this one is my big challenge)
What do I want to change the fear into?
Who do I want to become and how would they look at this?
These are some of the questions I ask around defining where I’m going with this fear.
So for the example above (Fear of speaking up and out), I’m going to say that I define speaking up as being confident in my own voice, and comfortable with expressing my needs to those around me.
Find the wording that resonates with you, it will likely cause you discomfort of some kind when you first write it, or say it out loud.
Notice that discomfort, how does it feel in your body? Where do you feel it in your body? What type of sensation is it? Is it painful? Does it feel ticklish?
Take an inventory of it as best you can, this sensation will start to guide you as you progress along the journey to where you are going to be working next.
For me, the first time I said out loud that I wanted to be confident in my own voice, and conformable with expressing my own needs my throat choked up. I literally could NOT say the words out loud in full. It felt like someone had their hands around my neck and were squeezing it.
I paused after saying “Confident in my own…” as hard as I tried I couldn’t get the word “Voice” out. I teared up, by the 5th time I tried I was full out ugly bawling my eyes out. It happens, remember to BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF!
I had to break it down further to make the step above into a baby step.
I had to start with “I am in my own voice”, please do this if you get “stuck” in a phrase. Break it down into smaller steps or phases.
The key is to make it something you can say, write, type or otherwise communicate with yourself over that causes some discomfort (because change is rarely comfortable), but easy to remember.
Once you figure out what the wording is that works for you, POST IT EVERYWHERE!
Put it on your phone’s home screen
Put it on your computer
Put it on a sticky beside your bed
(Again if you are making changes and in an abusive relationship find places to stick this that your partner WON’T see)
Have it randomly pop up as an event in your calendar so it shows up on your phone regularly (I do 10 times a day for the first week)
Find photos you associate with the end result and post them too!
The point here is to keep it top of mind, you want that subconscious brain to register the sentence in a non-threatening way.
3. Meditate/Pray on it
If you pray, then include this in your prayers. Bring a higher being in to help you out here, there is no shame in asking for help.
If you Meditate, include it in the mediation process. Let this new thought resonate with-in your newly calmed mind.
You want this to be part of your daily routine, so find spots to incorporate it.
And most of all remember to BE GENTLE with yourself over how this progresses. In all likely hood the fear developed over time, it may well take a while to work around, past or through it.
Be aware that there will be times you really don’t want to do this, just notice that and do it anyway. Keep an eye on what your body feels as you go through this process.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t look at using a different one, but keep in mind that at this stage your brain will likely fight you on the change the hardest.
Brains like to plan, so they tend to follow along with the first 2 steps more easily then this one. In this one you are taking repetitive action to bring the new thought into being. Now is when you are most likely to hit the resistance.
Just keep in mind that your brain is trying to protect you, thank it for its assistance but there is really nothing more it needs to do right now. If you repeat that enough it will start to calm down to a whiney grumble and eventually go away.
4. Daily Affirmations
After about a week of it being posted around the house, car, and on my phone I start saying it to myself daily.
I still have a hard time looking at myself in the mirror so I tend to say my affirmations out loud in the van every morning.
My Kiddo hears it,
I hear it
and I’m not freaking out over looking in the mirror because I need to be watching traffic
(I only do this at stop lights BTW Not when actually driving)
My point is that you should find somewhere you are safe to, and capable of saying the phrase out loud. You need to get that resonance out of your head and into your body. Only way that’s going to happen is if you say it.
Again watch how your body responds when you do, what sensations are you getting? where? how intense are they?
By this stage you will often start to feel more comfortable with the phrase, so go back to the beginning and check in, do you still want this new thought?
If “Yes” then keep going with this phrase,
If “No” then what would you like to change? Go for it, make what ever changes make sense to you.
It’s your life! You are the one in control of what happens here.
Personally I usually need to walk the road with one sentence for a month or so before I can even think about looking at this step.
Remember how I keep saying see what you feel in your body? Yeah here is where that comes in. Check how you feel when you say the affirmation, where, intensity levels, etc.
How is it different from the first time?
You see our subconscious and body like to talk a lot, so when something irritates our subconscious it goes and “gossips” to the body. The body tries to get your attention and creates the sensation(s) you get.
By paying attention to the sensation(s) you are telling your body you are listening.
Your body then goes back to the subconscious and says “ok, she’s listening, what’s your problem?”
This will repeat it’s self over and over until your subconscious realizes that the new thought is ok, and not causing any harm.
(I’ll go more in depth into this theory in a later post)
Do this as often as you want with as many thoughts as you want. It’s your brain, you can take back control of it.
How have you changed your thoughts? Do these ideas work for you? I’d love to hear your story, either comment below or send me an email.