How to Shift from a Breakdown to a Breakthrough
“Every challenge you encounter in life is a fork in the road. You have the choice to choose which way to go– backward, forward, breakdown, or breakthrough.”
-Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha
The new year can bring anxieties about your future with feelings of being lost, overwhelmed, or depressed. Most people need a breakthrough in one of their key life areas. A breakthrough is a moment in time where suddenly the impossible becomes possible. You look at your circumstances in a new way and everything changes. Most people are thinking about how they will make progress this year and beyond whether it is their health, career, relationships, or wealth. Change is constant and automatic but progress from change is not. Progress requires conscious thought, decision making, and acting. This year do not just hope and wish for change. Create the change and progress that you desire for your life. To do that you must ask, answer, and act on the following:
(1). What is the right strategy for achieving my goals?
(2). What limiting story do I need to free myself from and what
new story will set me free?
(3). What mental and physical state do I need to be in to create the energy and momentum to follow through to get it done?
Many people look at the problem they want to solve (hate job) and then set their strategy (new job). They believe the limiting story that keeps them stuck is outside of them (boss). But the story that keeps them stuck is from within (not worthy, enough, capable). As a result, they self-reject to avoid rejection from others never taking the uncomfortable action needed to see the change. But what if you have the right strategy and story but not the right physical or mental state to create the energy and momentum to follow through on your plan? This is the most important part of creating your breakthrough. You must get into the right mental and physical state first because you must act with consistent follow through and momentum.
Too many people fail in this area and as a result never reach their aspirations. Socrates and Aristotle created the word Akrasia which is the state of acting against your better judgment. It is when you do one thing even though you know you should do something else – procrastination and a lack of self-control. Akrasia is what prevents you from following through on what you set out to do.
Why did you make plans, set deadlines, and commit to goals, but then fail to follow through on them? It is because your brain prefers instant rewards versus long-term payoffs. Your brain likes your strategy of starting your own business as a benefit to your future self. But once you turn to the present self, what you need to do now to achieve your business goal, the brain wants instant gratification (revenue generation) which takes time. Your ability to delay gratification is a predictor of your success. You have the control and power to do what is necessary. In Atomic Habits by James Clear, he notes the keys to overcome akrasia, beat procrastination, and follow through on your goals and aspirations that result in the momentum required to achieve your breakthrough:
• Design your future actions by creating a “commitment device” with “implementation intentions”. A commitment device is your choice in the present that controls your actions in the future. It locks in future behavior, binds you to good habits, and help restrict you from bad ones. Your commitment device to change careers could focus on technology jobs first, identify and close skill gaps, or identify key connections with influence. An implementation intention is when you state your intention to implement a particular behavior at a specific time in the future.
For example, “Date night with my partner on Saturday nights.” These implementation intentions can make you 2x to 3x more likely to perform an action in the future.
• Reduce the friction of starting. It is “starting” the work that is hard not “doing” the work. You must build the habit of getting started with new behaviours. Do not worry about whether you are successful with the new habit. Reduce the size of your habits taking small easy steps and recognizing small successes providing the instant gratification your brain seeks. Worry about the results when you have mastered showing up.
Committing to a) changing your physical and emotional state as a priority to keep your momentum and follow through, b) believing in your positive story, and c) setting your strategy will open your breakthrough in 2022. Do not be a victim to your bad habits and behaviors. Remember, gratitude also goes a long way!
“Commitment is an act not a word.”
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