Sometimes it’s difficult to move out of the rut we find ourselves in. Sometimes that “rut” is called our lives. We can slip into habits, either inherited or of our own making, that lead us to a place that is stale, boring, unhealthy, or even dangerous. After a while, we may not even realize that we’re standing still or even sliding backwards. We may tell ourselves, “That’s just my life. It’s always been that way.” And it’s easier not to look too closely – just keep the status quo.
The nice thing about all of this is that, at any given moment, you can decide to change it. You won’t necessarily make instantaneous progress; indeed, it may take years and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. But the moment you decide to change – really, truly decide to change – will be the most powerful moment of your life, and nothing will be the same after that. Your universe will start to change as soon as you make the decision.
When you decide to change, it’s time to get honest. Task number one is determining where you are, right here, right now. It’s time to face the brutal facts.
Let me suggest that before you beat yourself up with a lot of negative brutal facts, shower yourself with the good stuff. Make a list of your strengths, your achievements, and your successes. Meditate on the qualities that make your relationships strong and your joys meaningful. These are the very things that will make facing the brutal facts easier.
If you don’t have a box or a file where you keep your small treasures in life, thank-you notes from people praising you, or acknowledgements about the positive impact you’ve had on other people’s lives, set one up as soon as possible. Your ability to remind yourself is invaluable, but it’s difficult to keep all of the positive things front of mind when you’re going through the rough part of facing the brutal facts.
Now, time to face the brutal facts. Make a list of the facts of your life that you don’t like, that are holding you back, that you would love to change. I am overweight. I am a procrastinator. I waste time and money in vast amounts. I have unsatisfying relationships. I never finish projects I start. The key to this exercise is getting all of the brutal facts out without blaming yourself or anyone else for your reality. It just is what it is.
Facing the brutal facts is the first step on the road to change. It forces us to get conscious, to become aware, of what our life really is. It makes us face the gap between what is and what we want it to be. Without it, we will continue to blindly spin our wheels, embracing short-term convenience while forsaking long-term rewards. We’re on a journey, and the first thing to determine is the starting point.
To be sure, facing the brutal facts can be an uncomfortable, painful, and even heart-wrenching experience. We will likely have to acknowledge great loss: the loss of weeks, months, and years of our lives; the loss of friendships due to our carelessness with others’ feelings; the loss of health; the loss of a stable financial position, and so on.
The sooner we face the brutal facts, the sooner we can get on the road to a different, better, and more rewarding self.