“Life is not a fairytale”. We hear this all the time but some of us, as my granny use to say, “head tough”. We constantly fall into the trap of wanting to float away on the cloud of a magical world. We see something and before we start putting in the work we already have it. We stay in the fantasy world day dreaming our lives away. But, we have to stay focused and get our heads out of the cloud. We need to do a check in, be honest with ourselves. Are we truly being honest? Are our expectations just so ridiculous? Living your life waiting for something wonderful to happen is a recipe for disaster. First you have to be realistic about what you can achieve. I know the saying, “do not limit yourself”, but when there are no odds because the expectation is pass unreal, then you have to be smart enough to see this from a mile. Many persons constantly fall in the trap of losing focus and drifting and when they are bitten by the bug of reality, are so heart broken that they give up fold their hands and declare the word a cruel cruel place. But we have to stay focused, we cannot be distracted by the what ifs and those magical clouds that disappear just as quickly as they appear.
Whether it is in seeking a job, a place to live or a partner, we have to stay focused. We have to train our minds to live in the present to look around at where we are and operate based on that knowledge. There is no way that you can take giant steps before the baby ones. So we have to overcome those baby steps and then once we have conquered them move on to working on those giant ones. We cannot let opportunities pass us by and then cry for their loss with our heads tucked down so that we cannot see those opportunities ahead. Whether we want to admit or not, too many of us have done so. Stop looking down, remove the star dusts from your eyes and see clearly what is before you and act based on that. Do not get carried away with what could be and stay there. Get out of your minds eye of remembered images and fogy dreams and make things happen. I don’t mean to suddenly get aphantasia, but make sure you are not living a fantasy 24/7. No one is going to come to transform your life, it starts with you. Stay focused and stay in the reality of your life.
If you do something or try to do something and continually fail, what’s the silver lining? If you do not have a great before and after photo of your life to show the world, why show it? If you do not have a rags to riches story to tell, why tell it?
Well I believe you tell, show and share reality. We have become too comfortable with being fed a feed or a thirty second glimpse into someone’s reality. In many ways because we all love a happy ending, we are good with ignoring the real story and being present in the reality of our situation. However, we need to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, with making mistakes, to losing and gaining and gaining and losing. A journey is never smooth, there are bumps along the way, potholes and rest stops that we have to make. As humans we sometimes have to do a complete 180 or even a full 360 before we can see any real improvements. But, it is a part of maturing growing and evolving. There are too many of us who look at the social media life and think that that is all and what we need to aim for – how disappointed we all have been if we think this. We do not want to know the stories, the behind the scenes reels, just the packaged snapshots we are fed.
No one questions too much or considers the reason why, how where or when. We never admit that we fail even when we tell ourselves we will not do so again. We instead tell ourselves that tomorrow will be better but we do not look at our vulnerabilities and accept that they are there. So, Where is the silver lining that everyone looks for when they stop to be inspired and hear that we are still failing? Well, the beauty is that those silver linings are forming under those deep dark clouds.
This is a cure for analysis paralysis. This is a look at something that many of us experience but never admit. The first step to changing a bad habit is admitting you have a problem. According to investopedia.com, analysis paralysis refers to a situation in which an individual or group is unable to move forward with a decision as a result of overanalyzing data or overthinking a problem. On the other hand Psychologenie.com defines it as, “an anti-pattern wherein a person over-analyzes or over-thinks upon a situation such that a decision or choice is never made, thus paralyzing the outcome.” In other words analysis paralysis leads to you become unproductive, where even the simplest of decisions become a major internal battle that often ends up with aborted missions.
So, have you been guilty of overthinking a decision to the point of being paralyzed into inaction? If so now you have name for it. You now have the ability and permission to admit that this has been a problem for you in achieving all those things you have wanted to do since forever. Analysis paralysis, may have kept you in a job you hate, a place you no longer wish to be and in a relationship that has reached a dead end. Mostly this problem stem from fear of failure or of doing the wrong thing and that fear has materialized in you doing the wrong thing and failing to do what you could have done a year or more ago.
At this point you may realize that there is indeed a close relationship between analysis paralysis and self-sabotage. Yes, they are in bed together and they are screwing you over. More to the point you are screwing yourself over. Whether deliberately or not by feeding your habit of analysis paralysis you may end up in the opposite place of where you may want to be. A place where time is not your friend and you end up with many regrets.
The first thing we can do for ourselves here is being kind to ourselves. We need to surround ourselves with people who do not enable but who tell us when we have become stagnant and who can help us to face the truth. We all have strengths so we need to identify them and list. So too do we need to list our weaknesses and work steadily at improving them, so we can remedy the curse of analysis paralysis. We need to take time out of our busy and sometimes unproductive days to treat this problem, to focus on what we need to do to not only be productive but to quiet those negative thoughts and those fears that make us paralyzed prisoners in body mind and spirit.
The parable that encourages is not to hide our light but let it shine for all to see, is one that I consider today. There are many who feel hopeless because they feel they have little contribution to make. They see so many gifted persons who have done so much and they look at their lives and what they have done and are ashamed of their lack of accomplishments. I have a friend who is an excellent cook, who shares the delight of what she creates. By doing so she is sharing her talent that delights the eyes and satisfies the taste buds. She is shining her light, her gift which touches those close to her and those far away. I remember my grandmother -great grand mother actually -who baked over 2o Christmas cake each year and gave most of it away, who always left a little extra when she cooked “in case stranger pass”. She was an amazing cook and many came to take delight in her offerings.
Many hesitate to be and show who they are, because they are afraid they may fail or come up short, so they never shine where they are. They hope and hope that one day they will get the chance to get it right, like all the others who succeed. If we are to shine we must act out those talents, out purpose and do so not with fake modesty but with the confidence that we are doing what we meant to do.
Shining as we were meant will bring us peace. Knowing that we are using our gifts to empower and uplift others will in turn empower and uplift us. We just need to make sure that we do not try to confirm to a way of being that is not aligned to who we are so that we do not out our light.
I am sure that many of us can completely relate to the image above. Each day can be a total struggle as we attempt to stay healthy as we get older – to healthy during these covid days, days that have literal been the bane of our existence, in many ways. I have been more concerned with my health for some time now but the journey has not been easy. In simple terms it has been a struggle. I use to exercise because I wanted to lose weight and I did! Then put it on just as quickly.
So this year I have decided to take this one day at a time and to ensure that I stay on course I have decided to do the Chloe Ting 2021 flat stomach challenge . No, I do not believe this will lead to me becoming svelte and toned in 28 days. No for me this is an attempt to be consistent in helping me to reap the real benefits of exercise. I started to see exercise differently when I stopped taking my depression medications in 2014, because I did not want to be dependent on them to simply be a zombie. I felt that proper nutrition and exercise would help. Though I have fallen on the nutrition front I am confident I can regain a handle on both if I I take my time to develop some good habits. Therefore, January is my designated month to work towards getting back on track. It is not the month to get things right and to come out leaner and better than ever. What this is, is an attempt to regain the ground I lost in 2020. A year when I ate poorly – a habit that still plagues me in 2021 – and gained over 20 pounds (I have lost some of this by the way). I am doing this for the long haul. So each month I plan to do different challenges, not to chase some perfect number or a perfect body but to get back instep with taking care of myself. I am being kind to myself by not being too critical when I eat too much chocolate or sugary foods but I am also working on cutting down on it, to eat one healthy food per day on my way to eating better.
To keep myself accountable I plan to mark off each day’s exercise challenge that I complete. By the end of this first month I hope to have worked out a formula that is best for my lifestyle. I hope to be more flexible as I develop a new mindset about what types of exercises I can do, when I can do them and how I will get them done. For me exercise is about strengthening the mind as much as it is about the body. I need those endorphins that exercise can give me, in this stressful time. This year exercise will be my drug of choice as I try to find ways of taking care of me.
There are no quick fixes in life and I realize that there are many more things to worry about, but this is one thing I can control. It is one way that I can ensure I am doing my part no matter what happens, to be healthy. In this moment this is what I must do to give myself a fighting chance and so this is what I will do.
Slow and steady wins the race. This is a proverb that we have forgotten and if not forgotten, have chosen to reject. We walk up rushing and go to sleep rushing, with no in between. Instead of running a sprint maybe what we need to do is to settle into the long distance race. It can be disconcerting to see everyone pass you on the way up, but there is the cautionary tale that many of those persons quickly pass us down, some having jumped off the edge.
So let’s take it slow. When you feel anxious, take a seat breathe and wait. Wait for your racing heart to settle down, the fear in your gut to disappear and for your vision to clear, so you can truly see what is in front of you. There have been many times in the urgency of getting things done, that we make things worse than they needed to be. Slow and steady will get you to the finish line, where nervous energy will not.
When you feel like furling your fist because you feel that you are being left behind remember that when the hare left the hedgehog behind he did declare his defeat. Instead he kept at it, step by step, never giving up even when the sun beat down and his vision was blinded by his sweat – he kept going. But what is important is to do so step by step, not to leap for imaginary bridges and swing on fragile could. With both feet firmly on the ground, we can calmly allow our seeds to take root, become plant that eventually bear fruit.
This year I will be intentional about not being focused on the big picture, but noting each brush stroke. The ripples and dimensions of colors that enter my world will get their own special attention. I know it is important to many to have an iron clad plan for the year so that they can achieve something special. However, I want to step back out of the crazy push to be normal and get on a path to being sane. So I will take time to looking closely at those little idiosyncrasies that lead me to make the same mistakes with what I put into my body, being quick to acknowledge the little hurdles I have to overcome and slow to finding quick fixes. Instead I will acknowledge my faults and work through finding their weaknesses.
You first have to be honest with yourself. Stop chasing dreams that make no sense and stop nurturing lies that trap you in a world of constant disappointment. Take the time to write all that you hope to achieve, but in increments, achievable timeframes that counter grandiose disillusionment. Take time to learn about yourself and for the sake of your sanity stop living in denial. Trust yourself to be tough enough to do the right thing, even if you fail the first, second, third and so forth and so on. Take each day moment by moment. Stop and tend to your yard before you start looking over the fence. Stop and check in with yourself from time to time. Am I doing okay? DO I need to shut down my social media, or shut out thoughts that may harm my mental well-being? Those are important questions that require your attention.
It is never too late to slow things down so that you can be more productive. Despite all the chaos and uncertainty around, we do not have to go down in flames. Be present at all time and to do this you we have to find time to be still, to let things happen organically without trying to control the outcome all the time – we are not omniscient and we will never be. Instead, all we need to do is to take the time to find out what works within the frame of our imperfections. No need to plan to totally change, but to improve on the good and slowly let go of those bad things that have been holding us back. Take the time to breathe in and out slowly, moment by moment