Despite a title that might come across really weird and complicated, today I want to talk to you about something very simple, that I’m sure everyone has experienced at least once. I’m talking about those times when you’re scrolling down your Facebook or Instagram feed, procrastinating on YouTube, even just reading and you find yourself really inspired by someone or something.
If it is a person, this someone – famous or not, it can also be a friend, or a relative – is usually tackling tasks and handling responsibilities effortlessly (or at least that’s what it seems to you). Everything you should do, this person has already done it. Morning workout ? Done. Healthy lunch instead of greasy fries ? Eaten. Meditating ? Daily. Yoga ? Practicing. Reading ? Every day before bed.
If it is something that triggered your inspiration, it usually is a threshold or a deadline that can break your chain of habits : new year’s eve, September, moving out, a new job, but also more trivial things such as watching a documentary (on the dangers of sugar for your health or on deforestation and global warming for instance).
In any case, you let your brain smitten with this new, or should I say renewed, self : you’ll make a program and start eating healthy, practicing yoga, manifesting gratitude, getting up early… You do not necessarily break down the path to your new self into baby steps because you’re just too damn excited to get into this whirlwind of change. That’s at least what happens to me : I love changing everything rather than using the slow baby steps method.
In addition, the new objectives are usually linked to each other : maybe you want to eat healthier to loose weight or tone up, which is also why you want to take yoga, while meditation will help you be mindful of what you’re eating too. You crave a whole ensemble. Elaborating a program seems irrelevant since all those goals are supposed to help you feel better : why wouldn’t you be able to pursue them ?
But usually, this is too big of a change. Either you don’t know where to start, and never do ; or you try to begin this journey towards a new you, but fail because one day you’ll skip meditation, the other you forgot yoga, and the day after that you went to bed too late to get up early the next day. In fact, life, and your old habits come back so easily, that you just accept it : changing completely yourself was too difficult, not realistic enough to fit with your current lifestyle.
What happens next ? You keep scrolling down your social media feeds and admiring your friends that are able to sustain activities that you were, but that you “will one day”. You keep that image of your fantasized self in the corner of your head as a comfort that one day, you’ll have time to be the person you really want to be. But not right now : you have your job, you have a report to hand in, you’re sick, you’re in holidays, you’re feeling down…
The loophole of the longing for the fantasized self is both great and dangerous. On the one hand, having a fantasized image of what you would like to be like is a great inner motivation to achieve new goals and reinvent yourself because you know exactly what you want. On the other, it is also dangerous because you’re so comfortable with this ideal “you” you’re perfecting every day in your head, that you’re just okay with the fact that you don’t have time to work towards it right now. You convince yourself that it will happen later, one day, because that’s what you want right ? But chances are, you won’t have that free, stable period of time needed to change.
Now sit down (if you’re not already), and thinking about how you’d like to be : a runner ? A non smoker ? A vegan ? Everything is possible if you give yourself the means to do it. Once you visualize what you really aspire to, don’t fall in the trap of forgetting it, or keeping it in mind “for the next day”. Start acting as soon as possible. And if you fail sometimes, it’s okay. You’ve smoked a cigaret after two weeks without one ? You’ve skipped three days of yoga in a row ? Well don’t worry, because failing also means that at least you’ve tried. At that my friends, is the first step to victory.