When the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of change, then you will change.
Over the past month, this phrase keeps running through my head. I hear it when I start to slack on my goals. I’ve said it to my clients. It comes up in conversations.
But what does it mean?
First to define “pain”
Pain manifests itself in a lot of different ways depending on your specific situation. You risk the pain of shame if you attempt your goals and fail. There might be a significant financial or health risk. You risk the pain of rejection – when you fall out of touch with people who used to be important to you but that you no longer connect with. There is pain tied to success – when you reach your goals you become responsible for maintaining and improving upon them. You risk adding stress to your family because taking time to accomplish your goals means taking time away from your family.
Very loosely defined, pain is any sort of frustration, inconvenience, or problem that is caused by you taking a specific action.
What does that have to do with change?
First we have to talk about goals.
Goals and motivation – not necessarily a winning combination
When people talk about goals the conversation inevitably turns to motivation. There are classes designed around it, courses you can take, people you can see, hundreds of articles to read about it.
Everyone is looking for their very own magic motivation milkshake. If we can just get the formula right all of our dreams will come true and all of our problems will cease to exist.
And little fairies will lay gold nuggets in our shoes every night so we’ll never have to worry about money ever again.
I’ve got news for you.
Motivation doesn’t work like that and looking outward for motivation is like waiting for the gold nugget fairy to arrive.
It’s just not gonna happen.
True motivation does not come from someone else telling you to do something. It does not come from reading the next best brain hack. You don’t get it from your friends. And you certainly do not get it from your enemies.
At best these are all just external factors that fuel your internal motivations. At worst they are a veiled attempt to blame someone or something else for your situation.
I often get asked “How do you change when you don’t know how or what to do?” Or, it might be phrased differently. Something like “I know what I need to do, I just don’t do it and I don’t know why.”
I call bull.
You do know why. Even if it’s deep down, it’s still there. Usually “the truth” is something closer to, “I don’t want to think about why.”
Which brings me to my next point.
If you know what to do but you’re not doing it, then you are procrastinating
There is a reason you are procrastinating. Figure it out.
Ask yourself why you are procrastinating.
One of the biggest reasons people procrastinate on their goals is because they have failed to answer the question from above.
Is the pain of staying the same worse than the pain of change?
When you answer this question make sure your answer belongs to you. Do not set your goals based on what someone else wants, needs, or thinks is cool.
Let them set their own goals. You worry about you.
Consider what you really want.
Do not be afraid to make a decision that goes against the grain. What is right for someone else, may never be right for you.
That is not something to be ashamed of or hidden away and squashed out of sight like a bad mark on your record.
Be thankful that you are smart enough to recognize that you have your own opinion. Lots of people think they want one thing or another and spend a lot of time, money, and frustration trying to achieve it only to realize that’s not what they want at all.
Knowing you are different up front saves you from wasting a lot of energy figuring that out.
And before you go thinking that you aren’t different than everyone else… trust me. We’re all different.
And because we’re all different, it is ridiculous to do what someone else does just because that’s the way they would do it.
They can never understand the world through your filter. And you could never understand theirs. So use your best judgement and make sure you’re making the decision from your own point of view.
But back to the point.
Motivation is internal.
If you don’t know what to do or how to do it, you’re avoiding
Your excuse for not following through on your goals should never be that you didn’t know what to do or how to do it. Thanks to modern technology we have these great tools for finding things out.
You might have heard of them. One of them is called Google. The other one is called YouTube.
If you’re looking to cut straight to the chase you can learn anything you want from anyone you want on sites like Skillshare.
Or you can find forums for pretty much any topic ever… for free. Personally I prefer Google Plus Communites, but Facebook groups are also a great way to search out people with similar interests as you.
On top of all of those resources, there are multiple paid private courses and forums all over the internet for people who want to dig even deeper.
I am part of Location Rebel. This is a private forum that teaches people the skills they need to run a business from anywhere in the world. It’s a steal at only $297 – considering the skills it teaches allow you to make as much money as you want, whenever you want, wherever you want. But the real value is in the community.
When you surround yourself with people who understand what you are trying to achieve and who are learning and doing the same things you are doing, it changes your whole perspective.
All of a sudden you don’t have an excuse not to follow through. There are people you can ask for advice. There are other people who can benefit from your experiences. You are inspired by others’ success and you are able to find that internal motivation.
It forces you to look at yourself and decide whether or not you are going to punk out.
If they can do it, why not you?
Ask yourself if the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of change?
Bottom line is, the real reason you don’t do what you know you should do, or that you “don’t know what to do” is because you are afraid of the pain of change.
In order to figure out whether or not the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of change you need to paint a clear picture of exactly what your situation looks like given either option.
Check out this great free resource for weighing the benefits of a few different choices. I love it because it gives you the ability to rate your choices based on several different factors and then give a “weight” to each factor, based on importance.
Once you have a clear idea of specifically what your two options entail you will have a pretty good idea of what you should do.
I’m going to give you some solid advice here.
Stop freaking out!
It’s not that bad. Seriously.
Sometimes change is painful. In fact, I would say that the best things come from very painful change. But when you come out on the other side things are so much better than before that it’s worth all of the pain of getting there.
And even when something hurts, it’s never as bad as we imagine it will be.
If you are having a hard time following through on your goals you need to ask yourself if the pain of staying the same is worse than the pain of change?
Depending on how you answer you might decide to give up on a goal. That’s totally fine… as long as you aren’t giving up by default because you just aren’t doing anything.
Take the time to really think about it.
Make a conscious decision and enjoy the consequences of that choice.
And if you decide to keep going, then keep going.
Do not let yourself off the hook.
Surround yourself with people who will not let you fail.
Now stop avoiding and get to it.
One more thing
A few weeks ago all of the 631 subscribers received an invitation to join our brand new private community. It has been so much fun getting to know my readers a little bit better and really finding out what makes them tick.
It is an unbelievable group of people who have come together to make the changes they know they need to make. It is a group of people who have committed to facing the fear of pain head on and blasting through.
They know that the pain of staying the same is far worse than the pain of change.
And they acknowledge that change is hard… and even if it’s better than not changing, it still sucks sometimes.
It sucks less when you have people around you who understand and are trying to do the same things you are.
In fact, when you surround yourself with people who are doing what you’re doing and who understand you, the pain of change isn’t really painful at all.
If you are interested in joining the private 631 community, enter your email address in the box on the right and make sure you click the box that says “newsletter”. Right now the community is closed to new members, but it will open up again in just a few weeks. If you are subscribed you will be given a priority invitation to join.
That’s it for this week. But before you go, comment below with the one thing you are changing and how you are changing it. Go!