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Transformation | Katharine Chestnut

Are You Resisting Your Own Transformation?

Resistance to transformation: It happens to everyone, even when you have the best intentions. Whether you’re trying to establish a better morning routine or want to build a habit of walking more, it’s easy to get off track when you’re working on yourself. 

When you look at what REALLY got in your way, you may often find that it’s a hindrance of your own creation. I bet you’re also good at making up creative reasons for these challenges. “I lost track of time at work,” or “I’ll do it tomorrow” are pretty common. 

Frequently, when we are looking to move forward, fear is what is at the root of what is holding us back. Even when we are actively working on ourselves, we are so used to living in such a way that keeps us from digging into the inner distress that we unconsciously self-sabotage our own efforts.

That kind of self-sabotage can really stall things when you’re trying to transform any portion of your life. Self-sabotage isn’t an easy hurdle to overcome. I’m certainly not a therapist, nor do I have a magic wand. However, I have learned some things about building better habits. Along with how support myself through my choices —consistently—when I’m doing deep inner work. 

Transformation Choices | Katharine Chestnut

The average adult makes about 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each day.
Each decision, of course, carries certain consequences with it that are both good and bad.

Why Consistency Is So Hard

To start with, I don’t want to shame anyone for being inconsistent or missing a day of your yoga practice. I certainly miss mine sometimes. We’re living in wild times. It makes sense that our routines could be a little off when there are new problems or situations to consider daily. 

But remember that our routine is what’s going to support us through the harder times. We just have to understand a little bit about how our brains work. 

“The human brain is wired to pay attention to previously pleasing things—a finding that could help explain why it’s hard to break bad habits or stick to New Year’s resolutions,” writes Jill Rosen for Johns Hopkins University. If you’re not thrilled about eating your vegetables it’s probably because you remember how yummy last night’s dessert was. 

Your brain gets a hit of dopamine when you experience any kind of pleasure or reward (like dessert). For some of us, those rewards are really distracting, and can make it hard to focus on the task at hand (like eating your vegetables). 

But we can use this information about our dopamine system to find other ways of rewarding ourselves and building habits that support us.

The Good News

Working on yourself consistently takes dedication, and for many of us, it’s easy to get distracted from that: Distracted by good or bad news, relationships, or stress at work. It can really come at you from all sides at times.

That’s where your habits and routines can support you the most. Your brain really likes those habits, especially if you keep that dopamine cycle in mind. “Habits, whether good, bad, or annoying, are behaviors that become automatic routines without using the decision-making region of the brain,” writes Dan Gilroy for BioTechniques, a life science journal. 

Dopamine is released when we are forming habits (good and bad). We know that it impacts our daily routines and overall behavior even though there still much to be discovered about how this neurotransmitter works.

What we also know is that you can build a reward system into your routine to make it more enjoyable—and there are a couple of ways you might approach that.   

The Transformative Power of Consistency

There are a few things I’ve learned when it comes to being more consistent: 

  • Start SMALL: You don’t have to finish the project, eat the whole pie, or build the whole house at once. Remember to set SMART goals (more about those here), so you don’t burn out too quickly on your new habit. 
  • Stay accountable: Join an online community (even our FREE Slack workspace with access to me here), recruit a friend, or tell your therapist about the new habit you want to build. I have an accountability buddy and a coach to keep me on track.
  • Document your progress: I highly recommend journaling throughout your journey of habit creation. It’s so incredibly helpful to go back to something I’ve written about and worked at, and to see my own transformation happening there on the page. Want to journal more about the habits you’re working on? You can see my weekly intention journaling prompts on my social page (IG, TikTok, FB, LinkedIn, etc.).

One more friendly reminder: Transformation doesn’t happen overnight. It’s exciting to start something new, and sometimes we can be super pumped about a habit for the first week, but disappointed in our progress. Give yourself time for this kind of change, and make space for that transformation to impact your entire life. It’s worth it!