Stumbling While on a New Self-Improvement Path Is Normal
If you are on some sort of self-improvement path, there will be times of failure. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to write a book, get in shape, meditate, eat healthier, etc. Mistakes are part of what paves the road to self-transformation.
It’s normal when going after something new. None of us are perfect, so messing up is inevitable. But it’s important to know how to continue down your chosen path without the occasional misstep stopping you.
Shame’s got a strong bite
There is a natural enemy to progressing with self-improvement and it’ll try to sink its teeth in at every mistake. The name of this beast is “Shame”. Once its fangs are set in, there is no amount of struggle or fighting that can unclench its jaw.
When I shame myself over my mess ups, everything stops. I can’t make any progress down my path because my feet are frozen in place. The reason for this is that shame uses a combo of overthinking and guilt to keep me stuck.
So when we make a mistake, shame will latch onto guilt and put the incident on repeat in the mind. This stops progress because energy is wasted on distraction. I went through this recently with one of my writing sessions.
Making new habits is hard
I’m forming a new habit where I try to write every day so I can become better at it and make more blog posts. In one of these recent writing sessions, I decided my phone looked more entertaining than my notebook. So I sat down to stare at my glowing rectangle for ten minutes. I promised myself no longer than that, and then back to work.
Some time later, I peeled my eyes away from the screen to realize they were dry and fatigued. My energy had been sapped, and it’s two hours later. Guilt set in and shame became my shadow.
I still had about two hours left in my writing window, and multiple chances throughout the day to grab twenty minutes and make up for time lost. But of course, I did nothing about it. Instead, I replayed the mistake in my head while consistently reminding myself how lame I am to give in…