This article is brought to you by EREPS Ambassador Rocco Venizelos
Change is intimidating to us as it entails a disruption of our inner and outer homeostats – it is a process which takes effort to achieve, initially leading us to a state of chaos (not necessarily a negative term) and, ultimately, to a new homeostasis, in which we will hopefully feel more functional than in our previous one. Homeostasis in its biological sense is the ability of our system to maintain through various self-control mechanisms our inner body’s balance. Homeostasis from a psychological perspective is about maintaining our mental well-being (a variable that is differently defined by each of us individually) as well as satisfying other basic emotional needs, for instance our need to be liked and feel part of a group and our need to feel loved and secure.
We, therefore, have the following equation: Homeostasis -----> change -----> Chaos ----->Homeostasis
While change does occur as a cognitive process, it is consolidated by learning new patterns of behavior and interaction with our surroundings. We cannot just wake up one morning and miraculously change everything. It takes skills and effort to do so. And in order to initiate this process and permit change to create new conditions in our lives, it takes perseverance, consistency and to question ourselves “WHY”.
The state of chaos I mentioned above is a frightening situation but in reality it is nothing more than the new and unknown. And here’s the “catch” about what is holding us back. Thoughts and concerns about our social status, fear of failure or what others might say, feeling good within our comfort zone or thoughts that others are just in the same position as we are, to name but a few. Do not let another person’s opinion become your reality (just as Clint Eastwood cleverly pointed out – “opinions are like ***holes – everyone’s got one!”).
It is important to remember that there is no failure for someone who tried but did not succeed. Non-attainment of a goal is a lesson and a valuable experience. If one perseveres, productively using the knowledge he gained from his unsuccessful attempts, it is definite that he will gradually reach his goal.
Few, if any, things impress me more than babies taking their first steps. They fall and a second later they are up on their feet and try again and again until they make it. Why do YOU think you cannot make it then? To go on a diet, to lose or gain weight, to follow a workout program, to do a headstand, to muscle up, to run a marathon – I can carry on with this list forever. Unless you are crawling at the time of reading this, you persevered and made it on your own two feet at some point in time, so you might as well be as persistent once more!
Some will claim it is not easy (“no s*it”?) because there are many factors beyond our control – yes, we saw that in the chaos equation above. Lots will happen along the way, I can assure you of that. An injury, loss of a loved one, a dismissal, a breakup, a broken nail, a flat tyre, the Greek crisis (always there…), lack of time, lack of company, fatigue, weather conditions and so many others. It is a fact that we will face obstacles. The crucial thing is to accept it! To accept that more often than not, our problems are not caused by actual circumstances beyond our control but from the way we perceive them, we interpret them and act against them. In order to deal with this misery and procrastination, we tend to blame everyone else but ourselves.
Does this sound like a piece of cake? Certainly not! But whatever is there in life that can be achieved without effort and sweat? What is easily accomplishable? As a special person in my life once told me “there’s nothing in life that comes easy…you need to force yourself even when you go to the bathroom”! This may sound funny but the message is clear and beyond the shadow of a doubt. There are so many stimuli and distractions in our everyday lives that lead us away from change and our goals, our plans, our hard work with ourselves. We have all these time-thirsty vampires – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pornhub (at least that’s good for the prostate). Just think how many hours we spend on all the above and you’ll be shocked. At the same time, we have our group of friends, our relationship, our social interactions and our family which could all be potential distractions as well.
All the above are not responsible for our procrastination but they are a great “alibi” since we cannot blame ourselves. So, once again, it all starts and ends with us (wow!).
We, therefore, need to exercise more effort and discipline in handling it all. When, for instance, I need to devote time to get closer to my goal, whether it is about my coursework, my workout routine or other daily tasks, I must follow a few steps.
First, I need to isolate those “sirens” diverting my attention as much as possible. For example, set my “dumbphone” to silent mode and deactivate notifications. Stay concentrated and focused on my workout routine (I can post that selfie on Instagram once I’m done). “Sirens” offer nothing but short-term pleasure while wasting away the most precious thing in life which cannot be stored and if gone, cannot be recovered: our TIME!