How’s your new year going so far? Did you make any resolutions? Have you broken them already? Don’t feel bad. It happens to most of us. We decide to change something and old habits drag us right back to where we started. How do we change a habit then? What will make it stick.? The answer will vary for everyone, but so often we try to change ourselves from the ‘outside in’. I’m finding that changing from the ‘inside out’ works so much better.
What does that mean? You can think of changing yourself from the ‘outside in’ in this way. Say you want to lose weight. In order to do that you might change your diet so that you are eating healthier. You might eat less. You also might start to exercise or exercise more than normal. In this way, you’re trying to change your body using outside variables. You might succeed if you can get those outside variables just right, but you won’t be addressing why you are overweight to begin with.
To change from the ‘inside out’, think of the process starting differently. You might start by thinking about how you got to where you are right now. You might connect to any emotions that lead to unhealthy life choices. You might also spend some time connecting to your own inner wisdom. We all have it but tend to not listen to it all the time. Your inner wisdom can probably shed some light on why you are overweight. Maybe you’re trying to protect yourself from something or someone? Maybe you’re afraid to be seen as the real you? There could be so many reasons and these are just a few examples. When you start with the inner work, you can get to the root cause. Begin to make changes based on your inner dialogue and this will lead to changes on the outside.
The process is opposite to what we often do. We’re are bombarded by endless lists that start something like this…Eat these 5 things to lose weight now or Do these 10 things to be more productive in your daily life. We can follow those lists but in the long run we’ll usually be more successful if we look inside ourselves as well. Changing from the ‘inside out’ begins by understanding how you got to the present moment. This can then lead you to changing the habits that are no longer serving you.
Over the holiday season, I had the chance to experience this process a bit. I was out of my normal routine and trying to change my reactions from the outside in. It didn’t work so well. Changing myself by controlling the environment only controlled the inputs that my brain and body received. While it can be helpful to do this, it didn’t fix what I needed to fix. When I finally stopped to think about what was really happening, I realized that it was an internal shift that I needed to make. The friction was coming from inside me. My reactions to my own thoughts and emotions were causing more issues than my surroundings were. I really needed to change from the ‘inside out’.
Of course just realizing that didn’t solve everything but it did reframe it in my own mind. With just that shift, I felt a change in how I was looking at the situation. I was better able to begin to make the changes that needed to be made on the outside.
As I move into the next few months and the changes that I’m implementing in my life, I’ll handle the changes better by checking in with my inner self more often. I know that I’ll fall into the trap of trying to change everything else first, but I also know that I’ll continue to come back to my own inner exploration. Every time that I do come back to my own inner work, will be a step forward towards the outer changes that I’m seeking.
If you’d like support for your changing life, then set up a private session with me. Leave me a comment. Let me know if you’re making changes in 2018 and how they’re coming along.