The beginning of a self-transformation requires action, but the end of it requires something deeper, something harder, something you’ve probably never realized before.
While doing more will almost always generate results, there’s an untapped, life-changing magic in doing less.
Sometimes, your problems don’t come from what you’re not doing, they come from what you can’t stop doing.
To really change your life, you probably need to consume less. You probably need to learn to use what you have, to take a breath and stop yourself every time you think you need that one new perfect thing that will magically transform you into a new person.
You probably need to spend less. You probably need to reevaluate your patterns and behaviors and refocus on your long-term goals, prioritizing your future comfort over your immediate gratification.
You probably need to engage less, both with people who are not mentally mature and people whom do not have any intention of having a civil discourse with you. This is not because you can’t speak freely, but because having an exchange with someone whose intent is to fight you rather than connect with you will always be a losing situation.
You probably need to change less. When we start out on our healing journey, it’s about uprooting, replanting, and sprouting. But if you’re unhealed beneath the surface, you won’t be able to lay roots without wanting to rip them out again. Healing, you will find, is not about how many times you can start over, it is whether to not you can bloom.
You probably need to care less. When your mind is consumed with trying to master and perfect every single little thing in your life, you get overwhelmed and give up. Instead, you have to focus on the few things that are actually requiring your attention, and then build from there.
You probably need to do less. Not because you shouldn’t be productive, but because you only have so much energy in a day, and when you spend it on things you don’t really care much about, you find yourself constantly exhausted, drained and at your wit’s end.
You probably need to have fewer expectations. Often, we conflate that with having high standards, but they aren’t the same thing. Unrealistic expectations will slowly wreck you, because they require that you achieve perfection immediately. When your expectation is that you should be a natural-born master of whatever you try to do, it becomes really hard to show up and do the work consistently, which is what you actually have to do to achieve mastery.
You probably need to not try so hard. When you try to force people to like you, it usually has the opposite effect. When you try to convince yourself you’re attractive, you usually seem less so. When you are trying to force every outcome in your life, there’s usually a reason they aren’t coming together on their own.
You probably need to give fewer excuses. Not because you’re going to be unkind to yourself, but because the kindest thing you can possibly do is stop avoiding the honest truth about what’s wrong. You cannot keep trying to positive-self-talk your way into thinking you love your life when you do not. When we’re ready to make fewer justifications, it means we’re also ready to make greater change.
The truth about doing less is that it’s going to bring you into stillness. It is going to require you to face that discomfort you’ve been running from head-on.
The truth is that when we first realize we need to change our lives, it is easy to get swept away in the escape fantasy of it all. Everything has to go, and nothing can stay. There’s an addictive quality to starting over, and if you’re not careful, you can confuse it for actually healing.
Truly getting better is learning to be okay where you are, wherever you are. It is actually metabolizing that discomfort for once, listening to it, letting it show you where you are deeply misaligned.
It is to become grounded, to make positive decisions for the long-term, to start breaking those destructive habits that have been fueled by the pain you haven’t quite had a name for all these years.
It is to no longer be controlled by your feelings, but by your ambitions, by your dreams for the future.
When you go about changing your life, sometimes, the most radical shift of all is to do absolutely nothing — and wait for the sun to rise.
This is a guest post from Brianna Weist.