Why relying on feelings for change doesn’t work.
Something about the holidays and the new year consistently prompts people to change something about their lives. Perhaps they reflect on the stagnation of the past year as they remember the holidays a year ago. For some, it feels like a fresh start when we turn the calendar page to a new blank year. And for others they’ve achieved great things but still find themselves unhappy and discontent.
Often these nagging realities are most prominent in the season deemed “the most wonderful time of the year.” Many of us are left contemplating how to engage and feel as though things genuinely are “wonderful.” Something has to change.
Change comes in various forms, and for many, it is hope in changes of circumstance that we think will bring ultimate joy or contentment. The reality is that circumstances help, but at the end of the day, deep, meaningful change must come from within ourselves.
We want to feel differently. We want our emotions to change.
Targeting new emotions seems like a great place to start, but we must actually go back to the beginning of where those emotions originate from. That origin point is our thoughts. As we go through our day, events happen, our brain interprets them in a specific way, and emotions and behavior follow. We can’t target the end of the process. We must start at the beginning.
This is why if we rely on our emotions to create behavior change, we often fail. I may not feel like waking up at 5 a.m. to work out. If I rely on that feeling to motivate me, I will likely fail. However, when my alarm goes off, if I remember that I want to be healthy, have more energy, reach a training goal, etc. I am much more likely to get out of bed despite the fact that I don’t feel like it.
This switch won’t come easily the first, second, or even the third time. When we work that mental muscle though, it will grow stronger and stronger, until you notice those thoughts become automatic and in return, the feelings and emotions begin to change. You will see days that you enjoy and look forward to getting up. You might feel pride or a sense of accomplishment.
Make change now.
Our minds are powerful. We can use them to help us create the change we desire in our lives.
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