Just Breathe... the beginning: reflection before action

The first step in any journey toward major, lasting life change is often the most difficult.,. am I right?

As I begin this journey into minimalism and intentionally simple living, I realize that this journey is no different than any other I embark on in my life, and all of my life coaching principles need to come into play in order to have lasting change and walk this out really well.

So, in the true spirit of Your Coach Meg style, the first step is NOT to jump into action…

I need to reflect before I get into any action (and so do you).

…and I have a great blog post all about that here.

Anytime you decide that you want to make a major or significant change in your life, you must first stop and create some margin (or s p a c e) in order to give yourself the proper heart, mind, soul, and emotional attention needed to properly reflect on this journey that lies ahead of you.

This is exactly what Craig and I chose to do before we jumped into any de-cluttering, purging or organizing. One night, we sat together and just did a big old fashioned brain dump to get all of our thoughts, emotions, hopes and dreams out into the world and onto paper to really begin to clarify what our hearts, minds and souls were telling us about this journey we knew we needed to embark on.

First: Let’s talk about making decisions...

One thing I think that we can all agree on is that change is difficult, and procrastination is easy… at least for the moment.

But there is no reward in procrastination.

The most difficult part of creating a lasting change in your life is finally deciding to make that change a reality—deciding to take action. Typically one of two things needs to happen:

1. The pleasure you would get from obtaining the change you desire is so great that you MUST move forward towards it

2. The pain you feel from staying stuck and not moving toward the change is so great that you are finally motivated enough to move toward the change.

Intellectually, Craig and I had known for quite some time that we wanted a change in our lives. We knew we were unhappy, unsatisfied, and unfulfilled. We knew we didn’t have freedom—not real freedom. The problem was that we knew the pain or pleasure of the change wasn’t big enough for us yet to let ourselves be catapulted into finally being 100% MOTIVATED to bring this lasting change to life. We knew that we should change, but that change wasn’t a must.

It is now a MUST.

Are you sick of hearing me talk about “shoulds” yet? *wink

I talk about “shoulds” a lot, especially when helping my coaching clients explore their personal core values… but shoulds are typically HUGE red flags to me. Typically when you put the word “should” in front of anything, it’s a great indicator that you’re owning something that isn’t yours.

In this case, it’s a HUGE indicator of procrastination and it’s worth exploring here today, I think.


Should vs. Must

It’s like anything else you tell yourself…

  • I should change.
  • I should get out of debt.
  • I should grow deeper spiritually.
  • I should stop wasting my money.
  • I should spend less time on screens.
  • I should do more of what makes me happy.
  • I should get rid of all this junk.
  • I should exercise.
  • I should fuel my body well.
  • I should build deeper relationships.
  • I should, I should, I should.

Sound familiar?

I don’t know about you, but when I am in the horrible cycle of putting things off for too long—after I’ve procrastinated over and over and over, I just feel horrible and it gets harder and harder to pick myself up out of the yuck and funk.

Once you understand the necessity for lasting change on this pleasure or pain level, you are FINALLY ready and able to turn your shoulds into musts. To accomplish this, you must begin to associate enough pain with your current circumstances and then equate immense pleasure with your new outcome. A mixture of enough pain combined with enough pleasure is absolutely how you change your shoulds into musts.

This is the pivotal point.

This is crucial.
This is when you get leverage.
This is when you are compelled to take action.
This is how you make the decision toward lasting change.

A decision is not a “lasting change” decision until it is a must.

You must feeeeeel this decision through every fiber of your being… like energy. Once your shoulds have turned into musts, only then have you made a real, lasting change decision.

  • I MUST change.
  • I MUST get out of debt
  • I MUST grow deeper spiritually
  • I MUST stop wasting my money.
  • I MUST spend less time on screens
  • I MUST do more of what makes me happy.
  • I MUST get rid of all this junk.
  • I MUST exercise.
  • I MUST fuel my body well.
  • I MUST build deeper relationships.

Are you doing this Just Breathe journey along with me, if so, take some time today to make your Must List. What are your musts? What must change? What has brought pain into your life? What will bring great pleasure? Take as much time as you need and write down all your musts.

  • I must…
  • I must…
  • I must…

Say your musts aloud. Do you feel how much more powerful the musts feel compared to your shoulds? The musts are alive—you must take action!

Turning the page is the best decision for you quote

I promise we’ll be jumping into some actin soon, but I wouldn’t be true to myself (or this journey) if we just jumped right in without the proper reflection.  I believe getting into the action is going to be difficult, but made easier being crystal clear about my motivation behind this journey to Just Breathe.

Today is the day I must decide that things must change. I can’t continue wanting things to be one way, when my actions are the other way; if my actions are not congruent with my desires, then I will never feel lasting happiness, never feel lasting fulfillment, never feel complete contentment… Period.

One you have your MUST LIST, put the list someplace where you will see it frequently.

Today is the best day of my life, because today is the day everything changes:

Today is the day my shoulds turn into musts.

Today is the day I decide to take action.

Today is the first day of the rest of my new, simplified life.

Won’t you join me, friend? I'd love to hear your thought about this in a comment below. 


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