Why are transitions so hard? Why does it take time to start or finish? Why is there resistance, even if the outcome is highly desired? In order to get through a transition smoothly, it’s important to understand the psychology of what goes on before, during and after one.
Making a transition starts with a need to fulfill; usually, it’s recognizing that something is missing or a desire to move past a struggle. It could be making more money or finding a more satisfying job, or relationship; it may mean wanting to lose weight, to run a marathon, or to just be a better person.
Having the desire is where it all starts, so the more one can tap into this the more success they will have. Activating the motivation and executive functions in the brain will be the start and, the best way to do so, is to use the visual field which brings ideas and solutions to life. Writing down your desires also activates these parts of the brain so they are more compelling to go after them.
However, any transition involves change, which our brain and body do not like, and which can activate the fear center and keep you in procrastination mode. Cortisol affects the executive functions, often shutting them down and stopping any type of activity. As Mel Robbins says, ‘you take the pause’, which is when the fear center arises leaving you feeling ‘stuck.’ Using her 5-second rule of counting backward and then acting will override the fear center and you will get things done.
Once you get started, there will come a time when uneasy feelings will arise. As stated earlier, change is uncomfortable so the more compelling and motivating the goal is, the easier it is to bypass any uncomfortable feelings that may arise. Keeping focused on the end-goal will activate the brain to go after it; keeping it visual is key. Telling others about your desire makes it real and is a commitment to doing it, not to mention gaining needed support.
So now that you’ve made it through, what happens now? Keeping up with the desired change may be a struggle for a period of time until it becomes a habit. The body likes comfort so the old ways will feel more comfortable and could draw you back to them. The steps you took to get there need to continue so they now feel like you’ve been doing them all along; it now becomes about rewards and keeping the benefit of the new change in mind at all times. Using positive self-talk and appreciating your strength and perseverance are both ways that will keep the motivation and self-belief strong.
Before long, the new habit will become a part of your belief system and part of your daily routine. Understanding that there are brain-based reasons when moving through any transition, both positive or negative, will help you to take control over any ‘blockages’ that want to delay the move. Being clear on the end-result, tapping into your internal motivation, and keeping the course will eventually get you there. I always go back to the story of the tortoise and the hare – who won? The slow, methodical tortoise is who, which you can base as slow and steady keeps the course.
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