Following the systems and habits approach to improve some aspect of your life you will certainly come up against times when you want to keep going but the discomfort around that builds and builds.
When we try to change ingrained habits we can put the odds on our side by starting small, focusing on progress over perfection and being flexible. But there will still be times when it is very difficult to keep going.
Sometimes this means that we chose a step that was a little too steep and we should back off and set a smaller first step to help ease into this change. But sometimes it just means we have to tough it out and get through it. But knowing a little more about the voice inside our head can help choose how to work through this obstacle.
There is an element of the approach that relies on mental toughness. We have to be able to compartmentalize the pain and discomfort in order to keep going. We have to know ourselves. We have to know the thoughts in our head that can sabotage our efforts.
We all have a stream of consciousness and thought that always seems “on”. In our society we rarely acknowledge this internal dialog happening.
But if you spent any time mediating, practicing yoga or karate or even spent time doing any sort of physical training you were probably exposed to the idea that we have to control this incessant voice in our heads if we want to succeed.
When you find yourself face to face with pain and can only think of quitting, the inner voice will likely start up and work to convince you that the best thing to do is to quit.
It will say that it is too hard. It will say you are stupid for even trying. It will share a perspective that says that it isn’t worth it.
But we can’t lose sight of our goals. We have to realize that this pain is part of it and we need to keep going and work to master the voice in our head. This will likely feel foreign to some people, but once you are made aware of this voice and the negative tone it often takes, it can become powerful.
The voice tends to act as a balancing feedback loop. If you recall from earlier articles, balancing feedback loops aren’t usually something you just power through.
This will likely be similar. We can’t just argue with our self and expect our mind and body to be able to endure. We have to address the balancing feedback loop component. This is the incessant voice. If we can calm that voice, then continuing with the work becomes easy.
So we need to gain control of this internal voice in our head and use it to help us instead of hurt us. There are plenty of resources that can help with that.
Dr. Wayne Dyer and other authors like him challenge us to focus on this internal dialogue and change the way the dialogue plays out in our heads. Other resources, such as military books, tend to focus on how to gain control of this voice by working through physical pain to prove the voice wrong. Some others talk about how to ignore that voice enough to move forward. Then it will subside.
Pain and discomfort are part of the improvement process even if we do all the right things. Sometimes we can just work through the pain but sometimes our internal voice teams up with it and works against our efforts.
In these scenarios we have to find ways to gain control of the voice and redirect the thoughts to something positive and helpful, rather than negative and unhelpful. If we can do this we can start to gain a self-awareness and self-control that will allow us to succeed in many areas.