It happens to all of us.
We do the same thing today that we did yesterday. And we don’t like how it turns out today any more than we liked it yesterday. Then tomorrow comes, and we do it all over again.
Sometimes the “it” we do is how we handle relationships. Sometimes “it” is giving in to an addiction. Sometimes “it” is the way we compromise what matters to us. There can be lots of “its” in our lives. The point is, these are things we do over and over and can’t seem to change even though we don’t like the results.
Someone once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Feeling a little insane right now? Maybe it’s time to look at what you’re doing and ask yourself some really good questions.
Why am I doing this?
If you don’t like the way your life goes when you do what you habitually do, why do you do it?
Hey, now. Don’t back away from this question. It’s the only way to get at what really drives you. We all choose what we do in order to achieve something. But if what you choose to do leaves you feeling bad later, you are probably choosing a short-term achievement at the expense of what you really value.
What are you really achieving? What is so powerful that it makes you give up what you value? Are you deflecting fear? Fear can be a very controlling monster. Fear of being alone, fear of harsh consequences, fear of what others will think… Those are all pretty big monsters. Many of us will do just about anything to avoid fear. Even things we don’t really want to do.
Or maybe your monster is anger. Are you trying to prove something to someone? Or are you angry over your own past mistake and now you’re punishing yourself?
Dig deep and figure out why you do what you do. Figure out what monster has you in its grip. You can fight the monster you can name.
For instance, you can fight fear with courage, and anger with forgiveness. Keep reading to figure out how to make that happen.
What do I really want?
Now we’re talking about what you really value—what you really want. One way to answer this question is to try picturing yourself the way you want to be.
Picture yourself happy. What would you be doing? How would you be living? What feelings would go with being happy? Perhaps you’d feel peaceful, satisfied, free, or safe.
Now, think about this: What you want is what is at stake every time you make a choice. You will find it easier to make better choices when you remember what’s at stake—that version of your life that you really want.
However, there are good, healthy ways to get what you want, and then there are dead-end, unhealthy ways that only pretend to get you what you want. Let’s talk about some ways you can tell the difference.
Will this take me where I want to go?
Some roads lead to your destination, some do not. Get on the wrong bus, and you end up in the wrong city.
So it is with our daily choices. Some lead to what we really want, some lead the opposite way. Stop and consider the likely destination of the choices you make.
For instance, let’s say you want a healthy relationship that brings you joy. If in the past every person you’ve chosen to move in with has broken your heart, is it wise to move in with yet another person? Or should you choose a different way to get to know someone?
Or let’s say you want to have kids once you’re in a permanent relationship, but your casual sexual encounters drive you to fear the outcome of your next pregnancy test. Will hooking up again turn out any differently?
No? Then it’s time to choose a better way.
Which leads to the next question.
If repeating the same old habits won’t take you where you really want to go, why not try something new?
What choice could lead you in a better direction? Why not make that choice today?
Leaving familiar habits behind can feel a little scary. But you don’t have to change everything all at once. What one step could you take today to chip away at the chains of habit and start setting you free to get what you really want out of life?
Consider these ideas:
- Meet new people in places you haven’t tried yet. (Where have you met the losers you no longer want in your life? Stop going there.)
- Hang out with friends that aren’t all about partying. (Or invite your party friends to do something that doesn’t lead to risky behavior. Go to a movie, hit the mall, get ice cream…)
- Learn to live on your own. (Pick up some life skills like cooking or managing money that build your confidence and independence.)
- Look up an addiction recovery group in your area. (Then set a date to join it.)
All good ideas. But how can you make these ideas happen? Keep reading…
Who do I know that can help me?
Finding a supportive friend or network of friends can make all the difference when you want to break old habits. Is anyone else you know trying to make the same kind of change you are? Partner up and find help together.
For addictions, you probably want to find a group with a proven track record helping people in your community. Alcoholics Anonymous, Adult and Teen Challenge, and online smoking cessation programs are a few examples to seek out.
For relationship help or life skills learning, consider talking with the staff at your local pregnancy center. Whether you’re pregnant or not, these organizations, just like Choices Pregnancy Center in Redwood Falls, care about women and men. They know that learning live a healthy life that’s true to what you really want is a great way to avoid an unexpected pregnancy—or handle one that’s already underway.
You don’t have to climb out of your rut alone. Link arms with people who want to help and you’ll find the courage and emotional support you need to go where you want to go.
Take a moment to review those 5 powerful questions:
If you live in or near Redwood Falls, MN,
contact Choices Pregnancy Center today
to see if we or one of our network of partners can be of help to you.