When the circumstances of life are great, it makes sense to try and keep them that way. After we work so hard to get our life on the right track, we can become fearful of any subtle changes that derail our progress. But positive action and progression toward a goal do not follow a straight pathway. It doesn’t matter whether your goal is about work, fitness, hobbies, relationships, or finances. There will be periods of time where you feel like you are making progress and periods where the progress is subtle or unmeasurable, and you want to give up.
The ups and downs of the pathway to success can days, weeks, months, or even years. I’m sure you, the reader, has had a ‘good’ day and a ‘bad’ day, everyone does. But I’m willing to bet you’ve also had a ‘good’ year and a ‘bad’ year in your life, and when you reflect on them you characterize them as such. “Man I remember my year travelling, that was an amazing year.” Or “I remember my first year after graduation, it was really tough, but it got me where I am now.’
The variations that we go through on the road to success also applies to failure. We can slowly slip into a negative situation in the same way we work toward a positive one. The problem is that it can be tough to recognize because of the small ups and downs along the way. This is why people who are addicted to substances can feel like it will never happen to them, but then given enough time they find themselves relying on the substance and have no idea how they got there. The worst part is that because we all say we are strong and that it will never happen to us, we are often afraid to ask for help because it means admitting that we aren’t strong or that we aren’t as capable as we thought we are. It’s the same way we fall into a pile of debt, become sedentary and overweight, get fired from a job, and ruin personal relationships.
So how do we make sure we are heading in a positive direction? How do we recognize the slow downward slide?
It all requires reflection. We have to be honest with ourselves. I’ve written about goal setting and creating positive change in life, and the one thing that is consistent across all positive change and achieving goals is measurement. This can be as simple as sitting quietly and reflecting on your situation, or as precise as writing down numbers every day to quantify progress. If you can’t recognize the path you are on, it can become very difficult to change it.
Ultimately, whether you believe it or not, your fate is in your hands. Always. You are always capable of choosing how you react to situations, how you spend your time, and how you interact with the world. You are the architect of your life, and the only master of your destiny.
Always remember: Change is the only constant. No matter how comfortable you get or how much you like the way things are at any one moment, they will change eventually. This is also true if you feel like things can’t get any worse. This is why hitting ‘rock bottom’ is a good thing. It means that the only place left to go is up. And when you move in that slight positive direction it gives you something to build on.
So don’t fear change, drive it.