During the Winter months, I’ve noticed a need to draw in and examine my deeper life questions. How do I feel about things that happened this year? What do I want to let go of? What do I want to change or create in the New Year? What will make me happy now that I’ve grown over the last year and my needs have changed?
While examining these questions, all I could come up with were tears and frustration because I didn’t have answers and, in fact, I was feeling confused by them.
Initially, I felt frustrated by this confusion until I remembered a key teaching during my coach training that confusion is exactly what is needed to rewire the brain to think differently.
Our brains look for patterns and confusion means there are no clear patterns for the brain to relax into.
When we’re confused, we feel off balance and our brains start looking for ways to make sense of things. Sometimes, this can feel obsessive. I call it “monkey mind” which is responsible for feelings of anxiety from the uncertainty.
The good news is that this is the perfect time to reframe old problems and focus on new possibilities.
If you are experiencing a time of uncertainty in your life, you may fear the unknown which brings on stress, frustration and confusion.
These feelings are natural. Consider it as the first step towards reconnecting the dots in a way that realigns areas of your life with current needs.
If this confusion is too much to bear, however, I invite you to break out a journal and follow this exercise:
1. What is the key question that you’ve been asking yourself that you are confused about? Sometimes, we are confused as to what the question actually is. You may find its a compound question or multiple questions that feel overwhelming. Clarify what they all are.
2. For each question, list all the possible, plausible answers. If you don’t have any answers, consider talking to trusted advisors about any ideas they have to see if you can broaden your view and expand the possibilities.
3. Circle any answers that you wish were possible for you if circumstances and fears weren’t in the way.
4. Highlight any answers that you are willing to try for a few months. Sometimes, we just need to try something new before committing to it fully. Once we’ve actually done if for a few months, its easier to extend it or course correct from there.
5. Journal the answer to this question, “If I DON’T try the circled or highlighted answer, what will it cost me?”
Sometimes we stay stuck because we are not in enough pain to make a change. The old ways are still meeting some needs, even if at low levels.
If you can see how not making the change will bring more pain, confusion and/or stuckness, you may see how necessary it is to move forward with the new direction.
6. Write the names of all support systems and people you have to help you through the transition, and let them know you would like their help.
I have certain friends and family that are able be there for me for some things and not others. In some cases, I have to hire help like a coach, trainer, therapist or other professional because its not healthy to rely on a friend in that area.
Sometimes its not people that we need, its new patterns to replace old habits, such as inviting friends to take a yoga or fitness class instead of meeting them for drinks when you want to stop drinking or lose weight. This would likely require investing in a gym or studio you like and committing to going whether your friends go or not.
7. Write YES or NO next to each answer to identify which answers you are willing to commit to for the time allotted, and be honest with yourself about your commitment.
The change will likely be reward enough, however, consider adding a tangible reward for yourself as well. For example, if you want to lose weight, give a substantial amount of money to a trusted advisor to give you for a new wardrobe after you’ve reached your goal. Consider letting them keep the money if you don’t reach it by a reasonable time. This is for those of you who are more motivated by pain than pleasure!
What you commit to needs to align with the standards you have for yourself. Let this time of confusion help you determine where you want your standards to be and what you are willing to do to rise to them. At the end of the day, its your choice how you want to live your life.
And if you need help with your rise, I’m here…and also have a course you may help you. ; }
Progress = Joy!