Breaking the Cycle: Transform Your Life Beyond Comfort and Ease

How does genetic predisposition block your success?

Humans are creatures of habit. We find ways to get through life that keep us safe, fed, and comfortable. We have all of our genetic history working to ensure we have a safe place to sleep and food in our belly so we have the energy to find new food tomorrow. This is how we stay alive. Our genetic predisposition also drives us to find the easiest way to get the food and the safety. In other articles, I have talked about ways to remove friction in your life. These have been focused on the process improvements you can make in your own life to help you get things done so you can free up time or reduce drama. So, yes – I am all about making your life function smoothly. It is essential. There is a difference between a smooth, functioning, high-potential life and a life where ease and comfort are your primary goals. The fact that you are reading this article tells me one thing about you:  you are interested in finding your highest potential life. If you are interested in changing your trajectory, then it’s time to decide you will do some things differently. 

What unconscious routines do you follow?

Too often, out of habit, you may recycle the same life, day in and day out. Think about it: Even if you haven’t written them down, you do have routines you follow:

  • What you do when you wake up
  • What you do to get ready
  • What you do when you show up at work
  • The food you eat at lunchtime
  • The end of workday wrap-up
  • What you do when you leave work
  • Maintenance or clearing of your home
  • Grocery shopping and the items you put in your cart
  • How you consume food
  • What you do when you have time to yourself
  • What you do at the end of the day until you fall asleep

Yes – you have routines, habits, essentially patterns in your life that you recycle repeatedly as a month and another year pass. 

You also have dreams and goals you are struggling to make a reality, and too often, it feels like it will never happen. That is when you start thinking, maybe that dream is not meant for me. Maybe other people can have it, but not me. You think, perhaps my life is as good as it will get. 

I want to tell you that it doesn’t have to stay this way. 

Your thoughts, like, “Maybe it’s not meant for me,” will not serve you. Think about something you want and focus on it; get it clear in your mind. Can you picture it? Now say aloud, “Maybe it’s not for me”.

How does that make you feel?  

I bet it makes you feel demotivated, tired, and sad. When you feel demotivated, you eat things you didn’t plan on, drink too much wine, watch too much T.V., or sleep too long. Those actions do NOT result in you taking the steps that would’ve moved you closer to your dream.  

I need to give you some real talk now: If what you have been doing is not moving you closer to your dream, then the only way to get there is to try something different.

You can’t keep waking up like in the movie “Ground Hog Day,” doing the same things and then wondering why nothing changes. You have to decide to deliberately alter your path to go in the direction you want to go. Success is available to you if you choose to move toward it. 

Are you moving toward your dream?

I’ve read “Choice Theory” by William Glasser, M.D.; it is a great companion to this article. Choice theory, as defined in this book, is “Internal control psychology; it explains why and how we make the choices that determine the course of our lives.” Going back to the early episodes of the “Introverted Executive Podcast,” you will find an episode about Locus of control. In that episode, we discussed that you either have more of an internal or external locus of control. When you have a more internal locus of control, you believe you have more control over the outcomes in your life, and people with a more internal locus of control tend to become more successful. People with a more external Locus of Control believe that life happens TO them and that they don’t have much control over their outcomes. This book, Choice Theory, is similar, and I love how Dr. Glasser makes some of his points. Ok, think about that dream you thought about earlier in this podcast. Then, think about all of the actions you plan to do today.

Dr. Glasser wants you to ask:  Will these actions bring you closer to your goal or further from your destination? In each moment, you can move toward your dream or away from your dream. You only have to decide.

Is it possible to change a deep-seated belief?

You have a LOT more control of your life than you act like you do. The reasons you have these beliefs are complex and many, but suffice it to say that you have been conditioned to believe that many things in your control are not. Beliefs, once seated, are challenging to change – but there are many beliefs you have that are worth questioning. It is possible to change a deep-seated belief, even when you’ve held on to it and believed it was a fact for a long time. 

I can give you a straightforward example from my own life. I live a keto lifestyle and have for many years. It is mainly because I feel better when I eat many good veggies with good omega-3 fatty acids and nutrient-packed meat protein. I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis many years ago, and I know my body feels better and my M.S. symptoms are significantly reduced when I stick to keto. This is a powerful motivator for me not to stray. Still, I am not perfect, and occasionally, when I allow my stress to affect me negatively, I do something I know I will regret later, like running through a drive-through to get carb-laden comfort food.

A couple of years ago, I had a breakthrough about this. I work on a Navy base where there is a commissary. The commissary is as close to my office as any lunch restaurant. I went to the produce section and got a take-out salad, which was terrific. That was a markedly different action than I had usually been taking and one that set me up for success. I avoided it because I didn’t feel like walking into the commissary in my business clothes, but that was just a thought in my brain and wasn’t serving me.

One slightly different choice made me feel amazing the rest of the day because I ate something clearly ON my plan. (Not sort of on my plan – if I squinted, or barely off my plan, or even entirely off my plan — which usually makes me feel bad anyway.)  What I choose to eat is my choice. One choice makes me feel fantastic, and one option zaps my energy and makes my M.S. symptoms worse. It is MY choice. So – every day, I have to decide if I will choose to blame stress and make bad food choices or walk into the commissary in my business clothes, where I can get fuel for my body that brings me energy.

I can improve that even further and choose to pack a healthy lunch that makes eating well easy. Stress is going to happen; that is also something I choose. I went after a career with high responsibility and bouts of anxiety because I care about what I do, and I believe I can manage it. Given that I want to be here, I can choose to make choices that allow me to thrive and grow further, or I can make choices that deteriorate my health. 

I want you to live a life that embraces the entire human experience. We are only here for so long, and rather than numbing hours and days of your life, I want you to feel alive! I want you to feel like you made a difference. I want you to leave something behind that says you were here.  

How do you know if you are recycling your life?

  1. Feel sure your best years are behind you like life is as good as it’s ever going to get
  2. Come home from work, pour a glass of wine, and turn on Netflix until you fall asleep.
  3. Keep doing the same things every day and never accomplish new goals. You don’t even remember the last time you deliberately made a goal.
  4. Realize you don’t remember the last time you made a new friend or had a unique experience.
  5. Remember when you felt an urgency to improve the world but lost that passion?
  6. Don’t take care of yourself: diet, exercise, mental health, or going to the doctor.

Five ways to get unstuck:

  1. Spend time today, even one hour, and DECIDE if there is something else you want out of life, even if you are not sure it is possible. At least decide and admit to yourself what it is you truly want.
  2. What would you tell yourself if you fully believed your “goal” is possible? Write that thought down. A way you can help yourself:  Imagine living the life you want. Imagine it is five years from now. What would it say if that version of you could write a letter with one sentence to you today? Keep this thought front of mind.  
  3. Start today and start taking small actions from that thought. What would she do? She might do something that makes you uncomfortable, she might drink less wine, she might watch less T.V., she might travel more and meet more people, she might learn to surf. She goes on adventures and says “Yes” to things that scare her. She takes active steps toward her goal daily and feels empowered. She believes she is getting there faster!
  4. If you know your current life is not inspiring and don’t know what you want, I recommend changing your scenery, finding some art, exercising, spending time in nature, and making your heartbeat. Do it repeatedly, and then write after each time – downloading your thoughts until you feel inspired enough to dream. Then, go back to step #1.
  5. The more you take these steps, the more you will evolve into who you want to be, and before you know it, you will be living the life you want to live!

Move toward your dreams today.

If you are reading this, I doubt that comfort and ease are your primary goals. Your highest potential life will only come by stretching your beliefs about what is possible for you and by taking steps toward that idea. If you want to change your trajectory, it’s time to decide you will do some things differently – start today. Start now. Before you know it, you will no longer feel like you are living a recycled life, like you repeatedly recycle the same day. You will have taken control of the outcomes in your life and will be on your way to living a life you thought was only possible in your dreams. 

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