Some smart person once said, “If we keep doing what we’ve always done, we’ll keep getting what we’ve always got.” And I know it was Einstein who said in a similar vein, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Makes sense, right?
Any time we try something different (with the admirable and sensible intent of seeing different results), we can expect the road to be a bit bumpy, because change is always uncomfortable. If we wanted to be comfortable, the best way would be to just keep doing what we’ve always done (and keep seeing the same results!)
Perfect logic, perfect sense.
So here’s my question: Why are we so easily taken by surprise when confronted with the fear and frustration that inevitably comes as we try to improve our lot in life? Like being greeted with a hand buzzer by the office prankster, shouldn’t we have seen it coming?
Many of us start out the year with a list of things we want to improve about ourselves. Perhaps we want to ease the burden on our bathroom scale. Or clean up our credit report. Or the garage. We start the task with good intentions, but we’re quickly met with feelings like these:
This is hard!
This is scary!
I’m out of my element!
Well, duh. All of these are feelings of uncomfortability. If we don’t like the results we are currently getting, and decide to do something new to change those results, we shouldn’t be surprised when the emotional potholes pop up.
This is just as much of a reminder to me as it is to you. We’re not even two weeks into the new year and I am feeling very uncomfortable. But that’s good. We have BIG plans for 2008 and in order to grow, we need to do some things we’ve never done before. Hard things. Scary things. The uncomfortability is a sign that I’m being stretched, that we’re moving in the right direction. If I was feeling comfortable, it would be a sure sign that my 2008 would look the same as my 2007, except for the single digit the end.
When you set out to accomplish something new, expect to be uncomfortable. Don’t be surprised by it, and for goodness sakes, don’t let it trick you into quitting. Step back, get some perspective, and realize the uncomfortable feelings you’re experiencing are a sign that you’re making progress.
It’s important to remind ourselves about these things when change starts to feel icky. It’s the sort of icky that leads to great things if we don’t give up.