Honesty sucks, but it’s worse when you have to be honest with yourself. I’m a recovering, lazy, unmotivated, procrastinator, who sucks at maintaining friendships. Whew, that was a mouthful, but it’s the truth.
Identifying Your Truth
To identify my truth, I had to look around at my life and realize that everything I wanted was not just going to materialize out of thin air, I had to identify the barriers that were preventing me from living out my purpose. That barrier was being honest with myself. My procrastination and laziness was stopping me from completing projects. However, simply identifying the issue will not help you. Many of us already know what areas we can work on. The biggest problem to solve is why we have these issues in the first place.
I wasn’t just born a lazy procrastinator. There were habits that I developed from a very early age. My mother worked two jobs and sometimes three jobs and I was home with my teenage sisters the majority of the time. Although they made sure I ate, did my chores, and homework, that left me with a ton of free time, which was mainly sitting in front of a screen. I rarely did any extracurricular activities.
I developed the habit of going to school and then going home to lounge. This also translated into adulthood. I go to work and my first instinct when I get home is to relax, maybe not in front of the TV, but definitely on my phone or reading. Now that I understand why I developed these habits, I sought out ways to train my brain and create new habits.
Take pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and write down all the things you would like to change about your current habits. After that, reflect on how long you’ve been stuck in that habit loop and how you got into your current habit. There is power in unlocking the “why” and will propel us forward into how we can conquer bad habits.
Now that we have found the why, let’s delve into the how. Awareness is like the air you breathe. Once you know the what and why, the how can be found quite easily. It’s implementing it that’s the hard part. I get home and I know that I have a propensity to sit and do nothing, so one day I said to my husband, “Let’s go walk a trail everyday.” I would go walk the trail and get home with an abundance of energy and I wouldn’t want to sit anymore. I also told myself that if I did just a few things that got me closer to my goal, I would reward myself later by relaxing with a book or TV show before bed.
By telling my husband I wanted to walk everyday, that granted me the amazing gift of accountability. Walking everyday also granted me the gift of endurance. Find a friend or loved one that you trust and announce your plans. This is often a great strategy to hold you to the mission at hand.
If you don’t want to share your changes with anyone, set a reminder on your phone or around your house. Also, try to optimize your environment to help you reach your goal or change your habits. For example, in the book Atomic Habits, author James Clear speaks about placing apples on the table instead of in the bottom of the refrigerator where he’ll forget about them. This made a healthier option more accessible and helped him with his eating habits.
Reward yourself. I know there is lots of detailed scientific research behind the reward centers in our brains, but I wont get into all of that this time around. Rewarding yourself and celebrating your victories, no matter how small, releases dopamine (the “happy hormone”), causing us to stay the course to chase yet another award. This method is a very motivating strategy for me and has helped me knock out small goals.
When we are honest with ourselves, it can be a major blow to our confidence. However, when we are honest, we have the ability to create a roadmap to major changes in our life. As I have always said, awareness is the gateway to rapid change and growth.
What is your hard truth? How did you get there and how can you change it? Let’s discuss below!