Foundations for Positive Change
You get a small cold but find yourself coughing nonstop due to your smoking, so you commit to quit.
You date another sexy twink only to learn he's kind of helpless and needy, and once again you say you're going to start dating someone your own age and maturity.
And yet on all fronts you fail.
Why is it that we set resolutions with the best of intentions and invariably fail at achieving our goals? We don't lack passion and it's not because we're inherently weak-willed; heck, it took a lot of courage to even come out, so you know you have it in you.
But why can't you make those wishes to change your live around into a reality?
Sometimes the problem lies with not having a solid foundation from which to make those changes in your life.
"It is one thing to know intellectually that you need lose 10 lbs or quit smoking, or to respond to the pleas of your family or partner to take action. However, it is infinitely more powerful to make a commitment from a place of self-awareness and a felt experience of the consequences of your current actions," explains Kendra Fried, a board-certified holistic health and nutrition counselor, hypnotherapist, Reiki Master Teacher, massage therapist, and yoga instructor who has dedicated her life to helping LGBT individuals create full and prosperous lives. She says that it's from this state of self awareness that one can really make lasting change. "The reason our resolutions lose steam is that they lack the fuel of compassion and curiosity! True transformation comes from an internal reference point of self love, self awareness, and ideally, compassion for the self, rather than from a place of beating yourself into submission."
So how should you begin?
•Look at—and feel— the suffering you're creating.
Notice all the pieces of the experience, the pleasant and unpleasant. From the relief of the first puff or bite, to the shame that may follow after, how does each experience feel? Then observe how the extra weight or smoking affects your body, moods, dreams and goals?
"This practice is called 'conscious, compassionate awareness.'” Fried explains. "When you become fully present to your life and the suffering you may be creating it becomes natural to do something about it in the present moment as well." That said, if you're always setting a date for when you'll make that change, then it might not be time to do it now. "And that’s okay. Because when you are truly ready, the change will be for good."
•Ask deeper questions about your behavior.
Figure out the triggers that turn you toward the cigarette, the food, or the obsessive need to hit the gym. Is it low self-esteem, stress, or something else? "Discovering what motivates you and what calls you to action is a gift worth working towards."
•Make change happen.
Once you understand why you're reacting to situations in certain ways, and once you know that you're really ready and willing to make a change, then you can begin setting attainable goals. As Fried says, "From this fertile ground of presence and compassionate awareness, you can plant seeds that grow into the life you want for yourself."
Kendra's recommended reading: There Is Nothing Wrong With You by Cheri Huber
Read more articles on behavioral transformation:
Secrets to Successful Workouts
Loving the Man in the Mirror
Building a Better Beast Through Behavioral Transformation