Last post I shared with you how we first make our habits and then these same habits turn around and make us. Today, I’d like for us to talk some more about this from the perspective of ‘Letting Go’. Why do so many of us choose to hold on to things that are just downright bad for us? Have you ever stopped to think about the very things you constantly think about? What kinds of thoughts do you wake up with each day? Do you spring out of bed with great anticipation for an awesome day or, do you find you drag yourself out of bed and grudgingly face what you’ve already predicted to be a bad day?
In both examples, same situation but the outcome of each is actually dictated by the thought you actually choose to hold on to or to let go. These thoughts are all habits that you have perfected over the years. The fact that you’ve invested years in developing any habit- good or bad- is exactly what makes letting go of certain habits so hard.
Why is letting go of most things so hard for most people? I’ve come up with two answers:
1. Letting go means giving up something. Some people are ‘closet hoarders’. They may not hoard physical items such as all sorts of junk in their homes- but they hoard numerous beliefs and thoughts – the majority of which do them more harm than good. Because they’ve developed this scarcity mentality that not just shows itself in terms of the physical dis-eases in their lives- it’s also seen in what they choose to hold on to rather than let go. This means holding on to grudges, envy, being critical of others and self, not able to accept a compliment nor even able to give a compliment. The list is endless.
2. Letting go means trying something new. Letting go of old UN-supportive negative thoughts means embracing a new way of thinking and consequently acting. In other words, you will have to step outside of your comfort zone- letting go of what you’re comfortable with and taking on the unknown. This is one of the biggest fears most people wrestle with- the unknown, change. They therefore default to the old way of being even though it’s been tried and proven to not be true.
So how can you begin the process of letting go of the things in your life that are not serving you? Below are some strategies I coach my clients on how to incorporate in their lives. They quickly get to understand life is much better when they say I.D.A.R.E. Here’s how IDARE works:
Personal accountability starts with creating awareness of your true intention. IDARE is created to do just that by starting with INTENTION:
- Paint a picture of what you would like to experience as an outcome or endpoint. This picture represents your deep-seated intention and it is what drives you to take action.
- Work backwards from the desired outcome or endpoint- INTENTION.
Working backwards from your Intention gives you a clear vision of where you want to be. It keeps you on track by letting you know when something fits or doesn’t.
- Assess the strength of your DESIRE to fulfill your INTENTION.
Assess DESIRE by scaling from 1 to 10
1-4 5-7 8-10
WEAK DESIRE NON-COMMITTAL STRONG DESIRE
- Share with your coach what you would be doing once you have achieved your desired outcome.
- What is one small ACTION you would need to take to get you to your desired outcome?
- What RESOURCES would need to be in place to successfully carry out the identified action?
- How would you EVALUATE your progress? What signs would you look for?
- Finally, when will you start on the identified action? Set a time for follow-up and check in on progress.
Using this simple 5-step process really breaks down the thinking process. It helps to clarify intention and desired outcomes. Hence, IDARE simply makes life easier.