Why is it so hard to take all your stuff, box it up , and move it a few blocks down the street?
Last week, I moved from my first apartment in Boston (with roommates) and settled into my own place.
Sounds peaceful, doesn’t it?
Not as much as you might think.
Just the physical act of moving all my stuff from one place to another was enough to cause a 10-day breakdown in some of the routines I’d built — including my gym habit.
(TL;DR – I specifically chose my gym so that it was on my way to work. Now it’s not.)
This is what psychotherapists call a “pattern interrupt” — meaning a forceful, sudden shift in a typically predictable behavior by an external force. I moved, my pattern was interrupted.
And guess what? I felt guilty.
First, because above all else, I’d made commitments to myself to follow through with my routines.
But also, because I’d made that same promise to you.
Then, I realized something: Whenever you have a major life change, other areas of your life can’t help but be affected.
Sometimes the change is sad or painful:
- You had a bad breakup
- Your dog died
- You just got fired
But other times, the change can be positive:
- You won the lottery
- You had a baby
- You moved into a new place
Both of these categories can be very stressful for their own reasons.
And when you start to encounter these “pattern interrupts,” it’s very easy to drop the ball in other areas of your life.
Your first instinct then, is usually to be overly-critical of yourself.
“I really should be doing _____…”
“I can’t believe I missed _____ again…”
“Why can’t I just _____…”
Whenever you feel like beating yourself up, will you do me a favor?
It’s not worth it.
Studies that show it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile — which means we all should smile more, right?
Here’s something to think about: It takes more energy to mentally berate yourself than it does to just accept a “slip up” and move on.
Yes, we set goals for ourselves with every intention of hitting them (and we even build devices, ahem, to help us).
But sometimes, we’ll still fail.
AND THAT’S OK.
But when we add self-bullying to the equation, we just discourage ourselves further, and we get even less done.
I’d like to talk about this more – but I want to hear from you.
Let’s work on some of this “self-bullying” together.
Can you think of the last promise that you broke for yourself? After you broke the promise, what was the internal conversation you had with yourself? Sketch the whole thing out for me in the comments below (or you can email me if it’s too personal).
For instance, if you promised yourself that you wouldn’t eat pizza for a week – but you ended up eating it anyway, did you call yourself names? Did you try to “punish” yourself by depriving yourself of something else?
Talking about these inner monologues is really important in helping to unravel them and get better in all areas of our lives, so I’m really looking forward to hearing your responses.
Let me know.