You only have to look at your timeline.
There you will see all the self help guru's, coaches and johnny randoms tell you that, "The only thing stopping you is you." or "If not now, then when." You know you have to seize the moment right?
Other wise you are a complete and utter failure, destined to amount to nothing (what does that even mean in real terms anyway?), a shadow of a human being, completely and utterly useless.
That's a lot of pressure to put on any single moment - no wonder you struggle to function effectively right now in the moment, carrying all that weight on your shoulders. So let me give you a different perspective.
I remember when I first started training down at Earlsfield Boxing Club back in my early teenage years. I fell in love with the sport instantly.
Like anyone young hard headed teenager, I wanted to do it all and I wanted to do it now. I remember drowning in sweat after a hard sparring session. My body screaming from the all the punishment it had taken. But my mind buzzing from the excitement.
One of the Coaches in my corner, Lenny Jackson, waved me over to the side of the ring. I lay my arms on the ropes, palms up, so that Lenny could take off my gloves.
"How did I do?" I asked gasping for breath.
"You did good. Just need to get your range with your lead foot and follow through with your left hand."
"So can I win the championships this year?"
"I don't do miracles. Minor revelations yes. Miracles no!"
What you have to understand is at that time I had no fights. Not only that, but you needed a minimum of 5 fights to enter the championships, and the season was already in full swing and not enough time to get that many in before the championships.
So why am I telling you this?
If you planted an apple tree on Monday, you'd be a little bit detached from reality if you expected that seed to have grown into a tree and bore fruit by Thursday. Yet that's exactly how many of us going about trying to make changes, and approach our goals. Then wonder why we either,
Sometimes it can be as simple as admitting that now is not the right time. That doesn't mean that we give up as such, but that we recognise that the best time to act is when the time is ripe. Sometimes if we are brutally honest with ourselves, we just not ready for change.
Now rather than going all "But you'll never be ready for change - act now!" you can S.T.O.P.
Knowing about the Stages of Change model and where you are in the process can help too. If you don't know what that is, take a look below.
This model is adapted from J.Prochaska and C. DiClemente Transtheoretical Therapy,: Toward a More Integrative Model of Change 1982.
At any one time we can fluctuate between the different stages until change sticks and becomes permanent. Why is it good to know this? Well each stage requires different strategies to help us deal with lapses or relapses so that we can enter back at the appropriate stage, rather than believing these behaviours are tantamount to failure.
Plus by knowing which stage we are in, we can consciously employ methods and strategies to create a powerful shift to our next desired stage.
Here we express lack of interest in making change. We may not be 100% happy where we are but the situation is a lot more comfortable and painless then making a change.
This is where we are thinking about making a desired change. Maybe we are gathering the information that we need, speaking to friends, family. Reading up around how to make the change.
Now we are taking some action towards change. we've hired a coach or suitable professional. We've modified our behaviour towards the outcome that we want (though every now and again we may have a relapse. Psychologically we may not have fully committed to action. We may feel as if we are being pulled in two directions as we struggle to break old patterns of behaviour and cultivate new ones.
This is where we are taking action towards our goal on a consistent basis, but we may not have maintained this behaviour for 6 months. Here we are doing the right things, nurturing the right mind set. Surrounding ourselves with support and putting ourselves in the right environment to help us stick with our goals.
This is where you have been taking action on a consistent basis for 6 months or more.
So how can I use this information?
The diagram shows how we can oscillate between various positions. This is important to understand because, lets say for example we are in a preparation phase but taking action or developing a strategy as if we are in the maintenance phase, we could end up feeling overwhelmed and set ourselves up for failure, then having a relapse.
When you take an honest appraisal of where you are, you can then utilise S.T.O.P more effectively, but more importantly you can create a strategy (whether practical or a mindset tool) that is unique to you and meets you needs in that moment.
Remember, while change can happen in an instant, it can take time to prepare. Never underestimate the importance of timing, or overestimate your ability to handle change. It's a thin line, and requires a deep and honest look, but the rewards are great.