Start the change with your values: Choose your values, choose your life

It certainly is not easy to change our actions.
Actions: that’s how things get done, by doing things.
And yet, how do we stop doing things that we don’t want to do and start doing things that we want to do or that we feel we should do? It’s so difficult to change what we do, partly because our habits are all baked in.
It’s just easier to do whatever you’ve been doing.
It becomes just an automatic and simple thing that you can just relax into doing the thing you’ve always done.
Whereas doing something new, it’s always going to be a little bit awkward, a little bit uncomfortable, unknown territory.
It’s just somehow a little bit less pleasant. […]
So really, it’s hard to really get excited about doing new things, and it’s so hard to stop doing the old things that we don’t want to do, so it’s so easy for anybody that is interested in improving life, or doing things differently, it’s so easy to get frustrated in you try to do something and you fail.
You try to stop doing something and you fail.
You just keep doing it.
So this is where so many people get frustrated and give up, because they feel that they can’t change what they do, that these actions, these habits, of “these are the things I do” and “these are the things I don’t do”, it almost feels like it becomes baked into the personality.
“This is who I am.” Maybe if there’s an addiction, like “I am a (blank) addict.
And that is just me.” And you know if we’re not used to, you know- “I’m just not a hard worker.
It’s just not my thing.” You know, if we see that as our personality, then it’s hard to change that.
So we feel like, you know, when we hear about all the self-improvement stuff, it’s like, “Well, you know, you can change yourself.
You can be better.” And then we try and then find that it doesn’t work, and then it’s easy to just give up and say “Well, clearly I’m not cut out for self-improvement, because I can’t even make these little adjustments to my habits, so clearly I’m just not able to.” And well, now I probably feel worse about myself, because now I tried to improve, and it’s revealed that, you know, I’m even weaker than I thought, and really, there’s just nothing for me to do.
But it seems to me like another way of looking at this: there’s a step that comes even before changing our actions, and that’s changing our values.
Or even just becoming clear about our values, our priorities, what we consider to be important in life.
If we change that, if we have some idea of what our values and priorities are in life, even if we have great difficulty changing our actions, just the fact of our values and priorities in our imagination, in what we imagine to be important in life, them being different from what we’re doing: that will have an effect.
I believe that this will begin to make a change.
It creates a friction, a dissonance, between what we believe and what we’re doing, If we can be very clear about it, that you know, I believe and that I like these things- like if we believe that, let’s say, hard work and family: these are important things to us.
If we really feel that, and we’re very clear that these are values, then even if we are maybe wasting time, you know, chasing addictions and not doing anything to do with work or family, there’s just that little bit of dissonance that’s saying OK, something’s off.
It doesn’t quite fit.
And then when we get a chance, even with all the difficulties, the brokenness, the challenges, the discomfort, but if we somehow get a chance to somehow do something that’s related to work and family, that we can kind of feel a harmony there, because we’re doing something that fits with what we believe.
So just by being clear about what we care about, we can already begin to plant the seeds of change, to set up an internal system where we will tend to move towards the things that we feel are good and we tend to move away from the things we feel are bad.
It’s like paving the road.
It’s like when we’re clear about our values, when we have a choice that’s aligned with our values, there’s something a little bit easier about it.
Doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy.
But somehow it’s just made a little bit smoother to go in that direction, because it feels like it’s harmonious with what we believe in.
Whereas if we have a choice to do something that goes against what we believe in, even if it’s a strong habit, and we’re used to going in that direction, it may still be easy, but it’s made a little bit harder.
It’s made a little bit disharmonious.
Something feels a little bit off, so we’re constantly gonna be feeling better about moving in one direction and a little bit worse when moving in another direction.
Still doesn’t automatically change everything, but just by making that start, that internal decision of what we care about, we can already start to move things in a different direction.

#values #priorities #startthechange

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