Have you ever had a habit that you knew you needed to changed but just never got around to making it happen? Most people have things that they are not happy about in their lives – their weight, their fitness, their diet, their finances, their quality of life, and so on.
And for most of us, these circumstances unfold as a result of the mental, physical, and emotional habits we set in motion in our everyday lives. Which leads us to the conclusion that if we simply change our habits then we can change our lives. At least, that is how I used to think.
I used to focus on developing new habits to replace old habits that I felt were holding me back or not giving me the results I wanted. I would work on changing my habit around getting up in the morning, my habit of going to the gym, and my habits around work and business.
What I realized though, is that when it comes to making changes that produce a lasting difference in those parts of your life that are important to you, there is something else that needs to come first.
It boils down to the difference between trying to force change to happen, and allowing it.
Let me explain.
The Difference Between Judgment and Allowance
What exactly is the difference between judgment and allowance?
- If you’re thinking about changing your eating habits because of how you look, that is a judgment. Allowance is when you accept the way your body is and choose to stop beating yourself up about it.
- If you’re always criticizing others for not living up to your expectations of them, that is a judgment. Allowance is when you accept others for who they are and don’t try to change them.
- If you compare your life to the lives of others and then resent the way your life is, that is a judgment. Allowance is when you accept the way your life is with gratitude for what you do have.
- If you focus on your money habit of spending more than you earn and beat yourself up for it, that is a judgment. Allowance is when you acknowledge your behavior and work out why this is a pattern for you. Once you understand where the pattern is coming from, then you can decide if you want to change it or not.
- If you just took the time to focus on being more allowing with yourself and your existing habits be they mental, physical, or emotional, would it make any real difference?
For example, if you have a habit of getting up late and starting the day feeling frantic and rushed, would being allowing help let go of the old habit at all?
I definitely think so.
As an example, when I get up late in the morning and feel unmotivated to do anything, then the first thing I do is to acknowledge how I am feeling. I don’t try to judge it, ignore it, or change it in any way. The simple act of acknowledging what is happening for me is what I call allowance.
For whatever reason, a part of me wanted to get up late so I accept it. This simple act of accepting things exactly the way they are without trying to change them as step one in making changes is a game changer. It’s like you are giving yourself permission to be okay with those parts of you that you might normally consider undesirable.
When you lighten up on yourself then you won’t need to force change to take place. Instead, it will happen naturally and easily without the need to struggle against those parts of you that you judge. In essence all you are really doing is silencing your inner critic.
Just the same as if you were to allow a toddler to have a tantrum instead of trying to control it or modify it’s behavior to make you feel more at ease, allowing yourself to be what you need to be in the moment should be just as permissible.
The reality is the toddler just needed to let of some steam. Likewise, the more you judge parts of you as unacceptable, the more they are going to throw a tantrum. You can never be at peace with yourself or your life until you learn to accept yourself just the way you are.
Here’s a few more reasons why you should focus on allowance instead of changing habits.
1. Allowance takes just a moment.
When you’re trying to change a habit, in essence you are saying to yourself , “I’m not okay with the way I am.” The challenge with this mindset is that you’re always judging yourself from the get-go before you even set about trying to develop a new habit. This is why it can be so difficult to make your new habits stick. It comes from a space of self-judgement rather than self-acceptance.
By accepting any thoughts and feelings that you may have been pushing down and allowing them you are taking the first step towards a happier and healthier life. Changing a habit is not going to give you the happiness you seek. Only accepting yourself as you are will do that for you.
2. Allowance is in alignment with universal energy.
Universal energy is simply the energy or life force that flows through everything that exists. I call it the source of all that is. The reason why this is important is because when you are in flow with the Universe then making changes is as simple as breathing.
It’s when you go against the flow of the your life that things can feel like a struggle. It’s like when you really want something that deep inside you you know is not really meant for you yet still you pursue it. You get so focused on the object of your desire that you lose sight of what’s actually important.
If you have to struggle to make a change then the Universe is already telling you that you’re going against the flow. That’s when you need to stop for a moment and ask yourself if where you are headed is where you really want to be. I find that in these cases it’s just a matter of tuning into what your heart wants.
3. Allowance puts you back in the drivers seat of your life.
When you say ‘yes’ to yourself which is really what being allowing is all about, then you instantly become responsive to life rather than reactive. When you stuck in reacting to what goes on inside and around you then you become a puppet to unconscious behavior that you believe you have no control over.
That’s why it’s so important to practice being allowing. Between every stimuli and response there is a gap of opportunity for you to break the cycle of reactive behavior and take back control of how things unfold in the world around you.
All that’s needed is to take a slow, deep breath and pause for a moment as soon as you feel triggered. This gives you space to step back from the old reactive patterns so that you can calm down and choose exactly how you want to think, feel or behave.
How to Break Any Habit For Good
There really is only one step when it comes to breaking or changing habits – and that is to make a REAL decision. A real decision means that it’s something that is a must for you. If it’s not a must then forget about it and just keep doing what you are doing as it probably won’t stick anyway.
Most people wish their life were different rather than being 100% responsible for making it happen. That’s why if you just focus on changing habits without being the kind of person that follows through on what you say you are going to do then it’s a waste of time.
Ultimately, change can sometimes be for the better or the worse. You may think that the grass is greener on the other side only to arrive there and be more miserable. I’ve had this happen in areas such as relationships, finances, health and career. So be mindful of what your true motivation is for change as you might just get what you ask for.
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Michael Atma Blog
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