Has it been three weeks?
I can’t help feeling ashamed for breaking the streak within less than a week, but hey, I came back. At least I should look on the brighter side. (One lesson I learned is that everyday is an opportunity to reset and restart. You don’t have to wait for the perfect moment, or even January 1st. And another is that as long as you are in the game, you are in the game. So, don’t quit).
I won’t go into details about why I put off blogging for nearly three weeks and why I even bothered coming back. We all have our reasons.
However, on a related note, I wanted to talk about inertia.
People don’t like introducing discomforts in their lives. This is perhaps because of our animal instincts to keep ourselves safe, and out of danger (this is not scientifically backed, by the way).
We perceive uncomfortable situations and translate them internally as dangerous situations, from which our default response is to flee.
All changes involve levels of discomforts as they introduce something new. Chances are, the harder and more drastic the change is, the bigger discomfort you will experience introducing the change.
And the most positive, good changes (or goals) we set out for ourselves? They are often the hardest and the most drastic. After all, expedient and short-sighted habits that revolve around pleasure and immediate feedback loops are easy to get into, sustain, and become addicted to. The longer-term, impactful changes take time, effort, and lots of discomfort as a result.
Not to our surprises, it is so easy to fuck up a positive progress you’ve been making in the habit department. All you need are well-crafted excuses or stories that tell you ‘Just this once,’ ‘You deservie this,’ ‘No one will notice,’ ‘You can just start over tomorrow,’ ‘You might as well,’ and the list continues.
After you accept the excuse and make your way down to the place you were, thinking ‘Just this once. I will come back promptly to my path once I’m done?’
Then the intertia does the rest of the work. You will fit comfortably right back to where you were, the place you didn’t want to be when you reset last time, and it will be even harder to get out this time.
Please don’t do that to yourself. Whenever there is an inner voice coming up with excuses, however sly those are, try to ask whether these voices are helping you in the longer run. Conjure up the feelings of frustrations you felt last time after falling into prey to these voices. Reward yourself amply in your daily lives within your progress so that you don’t have to quit your journey in midst for a misstep. If you find yourself turning to addictive, pleasure-inducing, and excessive activities to destress, chances are you are pushing too hard and not negotiating with yourself properly. (Being a “tyrant” to yourself, as Jordan Peterson often puts).
Lastly, they say “Insanity is expecting a different result after trying the same things over again.” Yes, it is important to be self-compassionate, but if you see yourself making the same mistakes over and over again, be quick to realize that things are not going in the right direction. Don’t be insane. Something’s up with your approach and you need to objectively face it. Come up with a different plan to help you get there. Learn from the mistakes and don’t repeat them. Do not overestimate your willpower (is there even such a thing?), and put in systems in place to help you help yourself. Experiment with different things with flexibility, and see what sticks. Everyone is a little different.
Apologies for the little rent at the end, but it’s good to be back. Inertia will always be there in our lives, so we should keep working on controling them and using them to our advantages (if you have all positive habits built around, inertia will work like magic to lift you up even when your wills are not there). Hope everyone is making conscious, positive little steps in this direction including myself.