If you’re trying to break any sort of cycle or get on a forward path where things have felt backwards, you’re probably well aware of what I see (and live!) all the time- a few steps forward and maybe a few that feel like you’ve gone backward.
It’s something that used to defeat me because, well, why would I go back to: that terrible job (yes, I’ve quit and gone back) or that very negative relationship where nothing’s changed (have you done this one? or thought about it?) or that really un-fitting fitness regime… or… smoking again… or pretty much anything I knew wasn’t for me and then, suddenly, I’m doing it again?!?
As The 30 Day Negativity Detox begins, the idea of commitment is on my mind in a big way, the kind of commitment that’s self-loving and not punishing at all. After all, when you’re deciding to distance yourself from heavy stuff, as invigorating as it can be, there’s also a feeling of empiness and lack of the familiar that comes to light. You know, like missing that friend who was duplicitous, or wanting to be back in the arms of Prince Harming (not Charming!)… We’re creatures of habit and we’ll miss even the bad habits.
Commitment is a beautiful thing, especially when you start by committing to your happiness and light before all other things!
Taking a few steps backward after moving forward is pretty normal. In fact, it’s a brain trick that can help us to believe we’re well above whatever demon’s we’ve recently slayed.
This article published in Scientific American explains it beautifully: “….you may have succumbed to a cognitive distortion called restraint bias. Bolstered by an inflated sense of impulse control, we overexpose ourselves to temptation and fall prey to impulsiveness.”
Essentially, you think you’re over it… but you’re not quite over it yet. It’s a habit still wired into your brain and until you have stronger, brighter, more solidified new happy habits in there, this lingering pull toward the familiar stuff you don’t want is super-tempting.
This doesn’t mean your weak. It means you’re human!
It also means that daily commitment- and humility- are so vital to making great big life changes!
The piece explains poignantly : “Restraint bias offers insight into how our erroneous beliefs about self-restraint promote impulsive behavior,” says lead author Loran F. Nordgren of Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. “It helps us to understand puzzles in addiction research such as why recovered addicts often relapse after they have broken free of withdrawal symptoms.” The lesson? When you’ve made progress avoiding your indulgences and that little voice in your head tells you it’s okay to start exposing yourself to temptation again—ignore it.”
I watched this happen in a relationship where my partner distanced himself from destructive habits and the environments where they flourished. He was super-strong-willed and, yet, after some months started to miss the people and the places that were familiar. It wasn’t long before I watched a landslide. It wasn’t that he “failed” to stay on track, but, rather, underestimated the power of influence. Like we all do.
Don’t get me wrong, I think we’re all unlimited in power and you can totally get above it all, whatever demons you’re slaying. In an extreme example, I know a bartender who has been sober for 20 years.
But… it takes lots of commitment to building up a new set of habits and healing the old before we’re “wired” in a new way that allows us to sit in the middle of so much constant temptation and feel 100% immune. That bartender so deeply committed to a decade of changing his life and building new habits that were so deeply ingrained before he could even imagine stepping foot in a bar.
I’m not into making life hard. I’m into creating spaces where the good stuff can flourish. And… things tend to flourish in clear space.
You might decide to move forward and step back a few times along the way, and that’s fine… as long as you keep up that re-commitment. We de-clutter and get a little clutter back. We decide to be done and slide into an old habit for a minute. I’ve found myself in this cycle enough times to finally realize that it was only devestating to backslide when I let that momentary lapse become “failure”. Failure meant I could roll full force into my old ways, rather than having a few days or a week or a month of going backward.
It’s not failure if you keep choosing to move forward.
In recovery programs there’s a solgan about “one day at a time” and that’s really how it works with all big habit changes. It’s not like you’ll instantly morph into someone else when you make a decision. When people feng shui their homes they don’t break longstanding habits in an afternoon. But… with maintenance… with practice… with new habits that reinforce the good stuff… you’ll keep moving ahead…!
Changing your space is a big deal.
And, of course, getting space from the heavy, toxic, negative stuff is vital. Lifting the energy around you is so important. Creating new habits that reinforce happiness is so key.
You can start now with commitment- or re-commitment- to moving forward… with self-compassion. Build yourself a foundation of new habits, new foods, new ideas, new fun- that fills your life with a new way to think and do and live. Commit every day, just one day at a time. Lighten your space. And watch your life get lighter!
Bob & I had the best time making this!!!
The 30 Day Negativity Detox is a commitment to happy-making, mirror-polishing, life-lifting and simple space shifting for 30 days. It’s loaded with lots of actions (some you may know for sure even if you’ve never fully practiced them, some you’ve likely never seen or heard of…!) that can help you detox from your own negative stuff, uncover more of your greatness and light, and see happiness everywhere you look…! There’s feng shui, there’s life-shifting, there’s lots of creativity… and it’s a daily commitment to a positive life shift… which is a positive life shift already!!!