We're a couple weeks into the New Year and I hope you are all making progress with your 2016 intentions. I have to say that I completely missed the mark on my intention of 8 hours of sleep nightly, daily meditation and 2-3 days of exercise in week one of 2016. But, I didn't beat myself up. I refocused and week two went really well!
Like me, many of you likely set intentions that involve making changes in your lives. I thought I would write a bit about change in today's post. First of all, we should acknowledge ourselves for valuing personal growth by trying to make changes in our lives at all. Nevertheless, if the change we're trying to make is one we've struggled unsuccessfully to accomplish before or if we've set a big stretch goal that's out of our comfort zone or current ability base, we may be feeling some frustration and anxiety setting in. We may even be asking ourselves why we thought we could make this change now when we've failed at it before or we might feel that we were way too ambitious and bit off more than we can chew.
This type of thinking often leads to us giving up on our goals. What I think many of us don't recognize is that we do not have to, and in fact, should not try to do this alone. I have come to believe so strongly that we can't grow alone. We need the support, guidance and love of other people to help us get where we want to go. We often feel that we're intelligent and capable individuals who should be able to make changes on our own. Sometimes we're embarrassed to let others in on what we consider to be our shortcomings or faults. But there is absolutely no shame in recognizing when you've reached the limit of what you can achieve alone and being vulnerable enough to ask for help.
It is totally understandable if you don't believe this yet. I didn't always believe in asking for help. I used to try to handle things on my own to avoid looking incapable, needy or just not together. It's really hard to admit that you are so stuck that you have no idea how to get out. This is especially hard for those of us who battle with perfectionism.
I had struggled with low self-confidence for pretty much as long as I can remember but a few years back, I felt that it was impacting my life to the point that I wasn't being the person that deep down I knew I could be. I was living so small (or "teeny tiny" as a friend of mine calls it). I was so sick of it. I wanted to change but I had no idea how. I finally got to the point where I knew that I needed some back-up. I found out about a retreat put on by a coach named Matthew Hussey which was geared towards taking back control of your life and building confidence and self-love. It sounded like everything I needed and wanted. I didn't know much about it, but I decided to take a huge gamble and I signed up for it. I was so proud of myself for taking steps towards positive changes in my life.
However, once I opened up and started to tell people close to me that I was going, self-doubt and self-criticism started to rear their ugly heads. I asked myself why I was the only person I knew who needed something like this and what was wrong with me? It was shocking how quickly my elation about finding a program that could really help me devolved into sadness, negative self-talk and a full-on pity party. The only thing that helped me through this emotional storm was my intense hope that this retreat would help me make the changes that I so desperately wanted to make. Even if I was the only person there, if it could help me, I was willing to put my pride and ego aside and go all in.
I can honestly say now that my decision to go on that retreat was one of the best things I've ever done. It was the catalyst for me to take ownership of my life and start living confidently and with purpose. It reminded me that I can have big dreams and that I don't need to be teeny tiny. I had so much fun and received so much support. It was amazing seeing that I wasn't alone (there were 98 other women there!)
I share all of this to illustrate that it is so hard to ask for help but doing so can set you up for successful change in a way that going it alone cannot. We have blind spots about our own lives that someone else can help us to see. Also, it's so much more enjoyable having support on our journey.
What challenges are you currently facing with reaching your goals? Think of three people who can potentially help you with your current challenges. They can be people you know personally, such as family, friends or acquaintances. They can also be professionals that you don't have a personal relationship with such as instructors, coaches, counselors, therapists or other subject matter experts. I encourage you to be bold and reach out to them for assistance. You may be surprised at what results!
Let's stop struggling in silence and get the support we need to begin breaking down the barriers to achieving what we want in life.