The allure of the before-and-after series...and why that approach won't work for YOU

You think everyone else is better at managing time than you are.

Everyone else is more focused and efficient.

Everyone else makes good decisions and sticks to them.

Everyone else navigates internet rabbit holes with ease.

You think no one else requires external deadlines to complete their projects.

No one else flakes out at the last minute.

No one else finds boundaries and resilience to be downright impossible.

No one else struggles with follow-through.

Here's what I see, though:

I see someone who's highly capable of learning and experimenting with new time management skills.

Someone who's stunningly creative and whose intuition doesn't always take the quickest route (for good reason).

Someone who's compassionate and won't ever make a decision that hurts her people. (And someone who might change her mind once she has new information.)

Someone who lets her curiosity lead the way.

Someone who has such a rich inner life, such a finely tuned imagination, that she knows she needs to outsource structure wherever possible.

Someone who can't bear to be a disappointment and is trying to learn that her mistakes are actually no worse than anyone else's.

Someone who has spent her life growing her heart instead of fortifying it (and just needs a hand wrangling some chicken wire around it now).

Someone who's so deeply introspective and knows herself so well that it's all she can do to not think herself out of action on a regular basis; sometimes she slips, though.

I see someone who values time, empathy, creativity, intuition, success, both self-knowledge and self-improvement, and (though you hate to admit it) perfection.

You don't expect it of anyone else (well, sometimes—astonishingly —you expect it of your partner, but then you check yourself), but you hold yourself up against it daily. As though it's the door jamb in the house with the pencil marks, and you've got a specific height to reach.

You know it doesn't have to be like this, but you can't conceive of an alternative that will actually stick. (You slide back into old patterns really easily. Know how I know? Because you're my people.)

I believe lasting change happens as a result of taking reeeally small steps. Like, teeny-tiny, itsy-bitsy baby steps. SO little, in fact, you're not entirely sure what you're doing is sufficient. (It is, I promise.)

 

I want to separate myself from those sweeping-change, just-do-it, shiny and mighty overhaul-everything coaches who make you believe your efforts to change aren't sticking because you're just not trying hard enough. Or you just don't want it badly enough. That approach feels impossible for most of us because it's based on a belief that self-discipline is a set it and forget it feature—one that overrides who we are at our core.

Here's what I know to be true:

Creative, empathetic, and intuitive people don't set and forget anything. (Well, except maybe the slow-cooker.)

You're tuned in and turned on by so much, all of the time, and it's that attention and intellect and curiosity that makes you capable of such interesting relationships, creations, and experiences.

You can't and won't create lasting change in your life if it means steamrolling your fundamental brilliance.

Are you open to finding and/or creating an approach to habit change that's different from how you've approached it up to this point...but also aligned with who you are at your core?

Are you willing to surprise yourself?

Can you allow yourself to embrace course correction over course perfection?

Do you see validity in taking smaller steps than you thought advisable, or even possible?

If you answered 'yes' to these questions, then regardless of any unsuccessful attempts in the past, you do have what it takes to make lasting change in your life. And you don't have to become someone different in order to do so.

There's nothing wrong with you; you were just holding yourself up against the big and flashy before-and-after, overnight-success paradigm that's sexy as hell, sure—but impossible to embrace if you want to bring your whole self along for the ride (and of course you do, of course you should—you're brilliant).

Small steps, dear heart. Smaller than small. No such thing as too small.