The turn of the new year was clunky for me. Clunkier than usual. We had a crazy few weeks leading up to the holidays and, of course, the holidays are always crazy (in a fun, seeing family, lots of together time, still overwhelming kind of way), so we took the last week of the year to do nothing. Netflix and the couch was how we spent our week, eating, sleeping, and lounging. It was the perfect way to end the year and exactly what I needed, so I was surprised when the start of the new year felt bumpy.
Although I am not a fan of resolutions, the new year brings a chance to reflect and make plans for the coming year. (A helpful reminder that this can happen at any time; it doesn’t just have to be once a year.) One thing I knew I wanted to change was my focus on my to-do list. By the end of December, my to-do list and schedule were guiding my life. I had no idea what day of the week it was; I just knew to look at my schedule and check the next thing off my list. As you know, this is no way to live. It feels comfortable, but you miss so much of your life living this way.
The last few weeks of December felt like I was surviving and just getting it done. Not surprisingly, my anxiety was high. I had doubled down on my old survival mechanisms, and although from time to time I was practicing A.S.K and checking in with my coping skills, for the most part, I was just surviving.
As the heaviness of December left and I was looking at a fresh new year, I knew I had to make some changes, but I didn’t know what they were going to be. And then one day while walking the dog (I swear my best insights come while walking the dog!), I thought to myself: What if you didn’t assume you were always wrong? It was one of those whispers from my Biggest Fan. I immediately thought to myself, “that’s it!” That is what needs to change.
I realized that frequently my anxiety was high because my Monger was running the show with the message that whatever I was doing was wrong or I was going to do it wrong.
Meeting a client? I would do something wrong.
Having lunch with a friend? I should be working, not socializing. Have you not seen the to-do list?
Going to the grocery store? I picked the WRONG time.
Writing a blog? I was going to say the WRONG thing. Too much or not enough.
Everything I did was wrong, and it was getting old. So I decided my new saying was going to be, What if you didn’t assume you were going to do it wrong? And it was freeing.
Every day (many times a day) since this ah-ha in early January, I have been repeating this to myself, when I am doing something scary like networking or doing something easy like meeting a friend for lunch, and it has made a huge difference in my life. Slowly I am unhooking that default belief, so it is no longer default.
I share this message because maybe you need to hear the phrase, “Stop assuming everything you are doing is wrong.” Or maybe your message to yourself is something else. The part that most people miss about mantra’s, resolutions, or words of the year is they have to resonate with you. I mean really resonate. To the core of your being, it has to fit.
I tried for days thinking about what I was struggling with: Was it standard Monger talk? Was it perfectionism? And finally, I stumbled upon this belief that of assuming that I was doing everything wrong. I now have a sticky note (you know I love sticky notes!) on my computer and I try to repeat it to myself throughout the day. It has made a shift in me, if for no other reason than I realize how much it is the BELIEF that is always going to be wrong, not me.
Do you ever feel like you’re repeating the same lessons over and over again? Like the stuff you worked on 5, 10, or even 20 years ago has a way of coming back, even though you thought you’d found the solution?
There’s a very good reason for that and, no, it’s not because you’re broken. It’s because change isn’t one and done; it’s ongoing. It’s because of a concept that I call Spiraling Up.
In this week’s podcast episode, we’re looking at how change works and specifically how the concept of Spiraling Up can be applied to the life-long project of growth and change. How you can step up to new challenges with a new perspective and remind yourself that you aren’t failing — you’re just spiraling up. Check it out on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or over here.
Sign up to receive my Sunday newsletters filled with tips and tools to tackle your High Functioning Anxiety.