Growing Pains: Why “Knowing How” Is Not Enough To Change Your Life and Habits

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I’ve been stuck. I’ve been stuck for a long time. Moreover, I’ve been stuck and waiting. Waiting for something to change. Waiting for my dreams to miraculously fall into my lap; for an opportunity to appear out of nowhere, and for someone to give me all the answers.

Answers about where life is going and what it’s supposed to look like.
Am I making the right decision(s)?
What am I supposed to be doing?
Am I a good person?
Do I have a purpose?
Was I right/wrong?
Will I have a good life?
Should I go on this date with this person? But where should we go, and what should I wear?

What I’m starting to understand is KNOWING will never replace DOING. Even if by some miracle, I were given all the answers and could see my entire life mapped out, it would still leave the DOING to get there. Even if I were given the answers about why I get depressed, why I procrastinate; if I could scrutinize and distinguish every detail about WHY I am the way I am, how my childhood has affected my adulthood, and the “reasons” behind all my actions, it would still leave me not knowing HOW to change, or WHAT to do with that information.

Knowing will never replace doing, nor does it actually produce the results we want. However, neither does knowing how and what we need to do to achieve what we want.

I KNOW that the source of my poor relationship to food and body-image has to do with feeling criticized by my family as a child and teen. I KNOW that when I’m stressed or depressed, I use food as a means to feel better. I KNOW that when I’m hungry and binging on food, it is usually something else I’m hungry for, or I’m dehydrated. I KNOW that to lose weight, I’ve got to eat less, DO more, stay hydrated, and get more sleep.

Does knowing ANY of that make losing weight and getting fit easier? No. Does knowing make me put my fork down? No. Putting my fork down is what puts my fork down.

It is the DOING of the action that gets results.

 

One of the most important keys to success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you don’t feel like doing it. – Unknown

The incessant need for humans to understand WHY and psychoanalyze our lives, our pasts, and every single decision we make easily becomes another form of procrastination that excuses us from actually taking the actions to change, or grow.

Of course, there is a necessary degree of knowing that must occur; the degree of which will vary under different contexts. For example, knowing HOW to lose weight may not help us lose weight, but NOT knowing at all is certainly a hindrance.

Therefore, there is a healthy degree of responsibility we must all take to be well-informed, and gather the basic understanding of the WHYs, WHATs and HOWs of any given situation. But that is where we must learn to draw the line, and not fall into the curiosity trap of analysis paralysis, OVER-thinking, and hesitation, which often leads to justification, resignation, and avoidance.

The most effective way to become unstuck, find “answers”, and change our lives (or aspects of it) is to do things in a way that is different from how we have become accustomed to doing them—simple, right? But not easy.

 

Insanity is doing thing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results – Albert Einstein

Growth does not feel good, at first. Growth is NOT fun – at first. Growth may even feel counterintuitive at times. You sure as hell can bet that when you’re running your first mile after months or years of inactivity, every cell in your body will be screaming, “NO! This is not right! What are you doing?! WHY are you doing this??? Stop!!”

As human beings, we are hard-wired for survival, which means doing things we know will keep us safe. It means not taking too many risks, or going past our comfort zone.

CHANGE feels really difficult and downright impossible at times.
STRETCHING YOURSELF past your current limits is uncomfortable. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. And as humans, we love to make it especially difficult by expecting to be at Point Z before we’ve even reached Point A.

Growth is not always fun, but necessary to your happiness, sanity, health, goals, and fulfillment in life. Taking Action To Grow is the only way to get the answers you’ve been looking for, whether that answer is a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’, to ‘Proceed’ or ‘Change Paths’.

Growth will NOT always feel intuitive. It is easier to be resigned or cynical about growth, than to have to endure the pain of change, which is really the pain of taking unfamiliar actions. Growth can be painful, but it is always less painful and more rewarding than staying stuck, living the same predictable cycles for the rest of your life.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Making decisions when you’re in analysis paralysis

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Art installation by David Shrigley featured at Art Basel 2018 in Basel.

You either let them in, or you don’t. What are you afraid of?
You either jump in with two feet, or you don’t. What are you afraid of?
Would you rather choose, or have it be chosen for you? What are you afraid of?

Would you rather be the decider, the creator of your life, or allow life to happen TO you as you sit idly by, paralyzed by indecision? WHAT are you afraid of?

What I’ve been learning recently is that the point is no longer necessarily WHAT I’m afraid of, or over-analyzing why I am/am not doing something. It’s about being able to make decisions, and FULLY accepting them with all the things they may or may not bring, DESPITE any fear of the unknown, neuroticism, worry.

Lately, the challenge I’ve been rising up to is making a DECISION in the face of indecision, and letting the chips fall where they may. And believing that I am capable of handling anything that comes my way.

No more getting stuck in analysis paralysis. No more toiling, twisting & turning, sitting on a decision for days, weeks, months, even YEARS. You’d be surprised how freeing that is.

“Come in. Don’t come in” –> You choose.

#WhereHappinessBegins #CraveGoodArt #HappyTravels
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Cocktails with Seedlip Gin

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Majorly cutting down on alcohol has been a relatively long and difficult journey! These days my alcohol consumption is few to none.

My reasons for reducing alcohol intake:

  • Getting tired of the same old weekend haze, doing the same shit, with the same people
  • Questionable, or emotional decision-making
  • How expensive it is!
  • Empty calories
  • Negative effects on my body and skin (bloating, water retention, dullness)
  • Occasional post-drinking blues
  • Brain fog & fatigue for DAYS
  • Seeing the amazing people around me who DON’T drink and have just as much, if not more, fun
  • Wanting to fully experience everything I’m doing and the conversations I’m having
  • Wanting to learn how to break down my own mental/emotional barriers without the help of alcohol
  • Wanting to learn how to manage my own stress from the week without having to rely on alcohol to “unwind”

This journey has definitely been so much easier with brands today such as @seedlipdrinks creating such cool, sophisticated high quality non-alcoholic spirits that are beautifully branded as well.

Location: Daylesford Farmshop & Café, London, United Kingdom

#WhereHappinessBegins #CraveGoodDrinks #HappyTravels
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

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YOU KNOW. That relationship, that career goal, that destination holiday, that THING you wanted more than anything—until you got it, and subsequently moved onto the ‘next’.

As humans, we are often searching for MORE, bigger, better, of sometimes simply different. The second I get or achieve the thing I’ve been wanting, my mind immediately goes:

  • What’s next?
  • How can I make this or get EVEN better??
  • How do I get to the next level/step?

As a result, I’m in a constant state of bottomless dissatisfaction, PEPPERED with momentary flashes of bliss. And that’s all well and fine… except for the fact that it can feel a little empty, meaningless, stressful, and endless.

Rather than continue this inane Cycle of Discontent, it’s important to step back, and appreciate/acknowledge our accomplishments, and what we have SO THAT we can have more meaningful and happy lives. So that our accomplishments and goals actually hold MEANING and purpose.

Cliché and perhaps eye-roll-worthy, but quite effective when applied. It’s not about giving up your goals, life standards, or ideals. It’s not about settling for a lesser life, and pretending to be “happy” about it. Do/get/make whatever you want.

The thing about gratitude and learning to appreciate what you have is it allows for ease and contentment in your life EVEN IF nothing else were to ever change about it again. It adds meaning to the rat race, and relieves a bit of the self-inflicted pressure.

Stop, breathe, and pat yourself on the back. You’re doing good.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Choosing happiness over suffering

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What happens when your internal dialogue is your worst enemy? Lately I’ve been struggling with the ACTION of choosing happiness over suffering.

Am I a masochist, addicted to pain?? My actions and behaviours as of late would certainly say so!

Conceptually, saying NO to all which doesn’t serve you is freaking fantastic. I generally have an easy time saying No to the things outside of myself (maybe too easy). But whether it’s habitual neural pathways, or a mental/emotional addiction to pain and internal drama, some days I just can’t seem to break the trappings of my turbulent inner voice.

The voice that tells me I’m not good enough; the one that is paranoid, fearful, judgemental, jealous, and anxious.

So what to do? For started I’ve been…

  • Allowing my thoughts to simply exist, without labelling them wrong or making them a big deal
  • Filtering out distracting thoughts – particularly unproductive negative thoughts – by focusing on the actual results I want to achieve at the end of the day
  • Reminding myself of my overall core values in life and of the person I want to be
  • Observing all these thoughts, making note of them, and reserving judgement

I guess we’ll see how it goes! Happy Friday.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Illustration by @abbiepaulhus

Warren Buffett on True Power

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There are two distinct versions of myself: the Higher Happy Self (soul), and my Lower Darker Self (ego).

When faced with a challenging conversation, my Lower Self will often oscillate between being reactive/heated/defensive or cool/cold/harsh/unfeeling; both extremes acting as shields to my ego.

When activated, these “shields” or mechanisms have brought along many undesired mental and emotional side effects: anxiety (probably high blood pressure), insomnia, depression, resentment, rumination. The trickle-down effect of which has affected my relationships, resulted in poor judgement, analysis paralysis, stress, adrenal fatigue, frustration, and unhappiness.

The side effect of THAT has included weight gain, self-sabotage, reckless decision-making, procrastination, not going after my dreams, extreme fatigue/loss of motivation, and of course, the cycle continues. All triggered by one simple thing: the INABILITY TO HEALTHILY PROCESS MENTAL/EMOTIONAL CONFLICT, or what my ego perceives to be a threat.

I’m not sure what the answer is. It’s so much easier to share, give advice, and speak on social media as your “Higher Self”. But the reality is my (and most people’s) problems don’t stem from when I’m in that healthy, balanced state. They come up when the Lower Self is at play.

So the question is how do we effectively and consistently SHIFT that, coming from that lower, darker place? Going on long solo walks usually does the trick, but isn’t always convenient or possible. So what is the answer?

Let’s just say, I’m in the discovery, and it’s a great place to be.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Letting go of the old, embracing the new

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Midnight Thoughts:

Dreams change. Priorities change. Weight, size, hair, skin change. Friends change. Jobs and career paths change. Favourite foods, books, drinks, hangout spots may change. PREFERENCES change. Values change. Who we want to invest time into changes – WHAT we invest time into changes. How we view money and finances changes. Where we’d like to live, who we’d like to be, and what we want out of life changes. What lights our soul and spark changes.

These kinds of changes to our “fundamental” selves can be scary. We spend so many years knowing ourselves as everything we’ve stuffed into this box of “Who I Am”, that sometimes we don’t even realize or WANT to accept that things may have changed – for the better, or for the worse (hopefully always better).

I’m personally going through one of those major shifts right now. I grow and change every day. Who I am now sometimes feels like a completely different person from who I was last month. Yet only very recently did I realize just how FUNDAMENTALLY different I am today in my mid-late twenties, from who I was just 4-5 years ago. Everything has completely changed, what I want has changed, yet I am/was still living like I was the same person. No wonder I’ve felt so unfulfilled, lost, and unhappy!

It’s so important to stop and acknowledge when a change or shift has happened, embrace it, reflect on our “old” self, then let go and bravely leap into the next chapter with abandon. No good is had holding onto our past selves and the things we USED to want.

The truth is, real happiness does not live in the past. It does not live in the future. It lives in the here and now where the real magic happens.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Image by @AliceKassLingerie