The Energy To Change
This is for those who want to make a move towards personal development and life change but feel stuck.
A note: if you find this de-motivational at all you’ve misinterpreted the message.
Change requires energy.
If you want to change a situation or way of thinking it takes energy to alter it, be that mental or physical energy.
This is a moment to be very honest and realistic with your self.
Consider where you are, consider the variables and then assess if you have the energy at this moment to make significant changes – lasting changes.
This is not about being the hero and taking action but about being rooted in reality.
This is not about shelving aspirations and goals but about being accepting of your self at present.
It doesn’t take much foraging in the self-help forest to realise that a very common thread is that of personal change (of course) and the Do it! Do it Now!! directive (reading it with a Schwarzenegger accent optional).
Please take this article with a dollop of caution and thoughtfulness.
Energy is Limited
We are finite beings.
We have limited resources. Yes, things like a better sleep routine or healthy diet can be great boosts, and I cannot recommend those enough. But by themselves they are rarely enough to launch any major change. You can have the deep regenerative sleep of Rip Van Winkle (but less), and eat the perfect food for your body but those things will not change your psychology or mindset, and certainly won’t change faulty belief systems that are strangers to logic, the same way politicians are to telling the truth.
Changing job, developing a new hobby, exploring your thought processes, shedding shame, meditation, whatever the new thing you wish to adopt or alter is, make sure you are not making a difficult situation even more stressful.
If life is very stressful beyond brief periods, that is a big gaudy Las Vegas neon sign that something needs to change.
Namely, the need to become less stressed, to reduce reactivity, and possibly change environment.
When we are stressed is also when we are probably least likely to make and stick to any lasting changes.
Why? Because the resources are not adequate to make the transition easy enough. There is space to make changes for basic things, but anything that delves into your psychology beyond the surface needs time and sustained effort to allow adaptation to occur.
Waiting until breaking point is not a good option but a mistake frequently made.
Stress and sustained stress in particular are like a screwdriver to your petrol tank. It drains your fuel fast and depending on your resilience levels that fuel may be low anyway. Far from ideal. Ideal isn’t even signposted. You ask the locals where Ideal is and they chase you out of the village.
Stress will also chew chunks out of your creativity.
It doesn’t matter if you consider your self creative or not, we all have an element of creativity whatever that expression brings with it – you don’t have to be painting sunrises every morning to have it, or wear a beret.
I’m talking the kind of stress where you have responsibility to school, university, or work, relationships: and washing the dishes, cleaning, showering and basics start to seem like arduous tasks.
At this point you’ve run out of mind space, of processing power. There’s no juice left, and anything beyond the routine starts to appear like steep, insurmountable, shadowy mountainsides. It’s too much to even think of picking a route over them.
Recuperate and Rejuvenate
At this point, literally take care of your self.
And remember it’s nobody else’s responsibility but yours. You’re an adult.
This is a part of your journey where you pull over and rest before facing a new challenge.
Re-energise: put the metaphorical plug in and look after your interests.
Too often we become stuck on the idea of pushing ourselves when it is the opposite of what we should do – at that specific time. Pushing your self is essential to develop as a person, but pick your time if you can.
It’s OK not to be red-lining.
Busy all the time? Not cool. You’re not impressing any one. That’s a time management issue, boundary issue, a priority issue and quite possibly a running away from something issue.*
Physiologically, stress can make you addicted to the emotional state of feeling overwhelmed, the same as a state of routine laziness is not easy to escape for some. So realising there is a problem is enough at this point. A willingness to act on it in the future is all that’s needed.
The cruelty can be that a job or some situation we feel stuck in is difficult to get away from due to the energy sucking effects. Dead end jobs? That’s how people end up in them, often in jobs that are well below their capabilities. While working alongside total numpties. Same goes for bad relationships and many other things besides.
Don’t keep driving and persisting when one of the tyres has just rolled past your. Wilful ignorance is future pain.
Set a Date
Do set a date to change even when energy is low. Write it down. That’s as a fundamental necessity.
Is it realistic to start a gym routine five days a week, when you’ve barely coped with work and everything else in your life?
This is one of those strange moments in life coaching when I advise against what would seem like the optimal choice. There are some things that require immediate attention and times of great stress are rarely ever good times to start new life changes.
I realise that seems paradoxical, but with stress also comes the risk of bad decisions being made. With experience, you can learn to fix the small things before they turn into major repair jobs.
In essence, the need for change requires prioritisation. What is essential? What isn’t? Know those and you’ll be on your way to better things.
- *Exceptions include starting a business when it is time intensive, or emergencies and any other unplanned unavoidable situation.