Starting a new habit seems to come with three universal “self-trust issues”:
Trust in my Intentions. “Do I even have the time for this? Does making time for this make me selfish… Is it even good for me to spend time on this, out of all the priorities in life? Will this do me in any good in the long term?”
Trust in my Ability to follow through. “I’ll probably give up at the first opportunity, and then beat myself up again for not following through.”
Trust in my Skills. “Am I even good enough? I don’t notice any improvement, I don’t think this is working for me. I don’t think I can do this.”
(Source: Eben Pagan)
And even though I’ve slowly been gaining trust across all three dimensions in the past two years…
Whenever I start something new – like publishing a daily insight – the same trust issues resurface.
“Trust in my ability to follow through” is a particularly tough cookie. Not a day goes by without a self-defeating and endlessly annoying voice whispering in my ear: “Go ahead, try me. See how long you last before you return with another habit you gave up on…”
Which leads me to the Completion Paradox:
Trust in my ability to complete things is not a prerequisite to get started. It’s earned through getting started in the first place and then, slowly, but surely, day by day, following through. Completing something every single day. Proving to myself that I can, in fact, trust myself to follow through. Building up that self-trust every day through tiny trust builders.
So… the questions I keep in mind today:
- How can I bring my positive habit-building experiences from the past, and the trust I built into this new activity?
- What would it feel like if, instead of spoiling the fun of starting this daily publishing with nagging self-doubt, waiting for the “inevitable moment where I’ll give up”… I celebrate each time I’m following through and see it as another step closer to a new habit… another step closer to self-trust?
Taking it one step further:
- What would it feel like to have this new habit in place already? How would I act if I already had enough trust that no matter what happens, even if I miss a day, or even a week, I’ll return back to daily publishing?
And with those questions in mind, I realize a simple thought can put my mind at ease…
“It’s all fine… I’ve been through this before.”
Because when my dreams start drowning in doubts
And desire turns into despair
When I suddenly see what I always had in me
Who I could be
Yet my thoughts already declare defeat
I step back
And when at last I notice
That day by day,
I’m finally unleashing the calling I’ve always ignored
I remind myself
It’s all fine. I’ve been through this before.