Making THE DECISION to embark on a new health plan is the biggest hurdle to overcome, right? In fact, once the decision is made, then everything comes easily … your life is just smooth sailing all the way.
I couldn’t even type that sentence with a straight face.
That may happen in movies – but if you look closely, that’s just our perception. Did you know that moving pictures (a-hem, movies) can help you to see the big picture? In fact, understanding the way movies are put together can help you to map out your own health journey.
Here’s how movies typically flow in a series of predicable plot points.
The Protagonist has a BIG problem.
The Protagonist tries to overcome the problem alone.
The Protagonist suffers a series of setbacks.
The Protagonist (usually stumbles over) and meets a wise encourager or guide(s).
The Protagonist – with renewed vigor – tries to overcome the problem.
The Protagonist suffers new and more inventive setbacks.
The Protagonist suffers the greatest setback of all where all she or he can do is give up.
The Protagonist has an epiphany. He/she reaches a conclusion and makes a DECISION TO CHANGE in some way (based on new understanding).
The Protagonist walks into the sunset (metaphorically, of course) with a sense of peace, calm, and acceptance knowing all will unfold beautifully from that day forward.
Do you see any big gaping holes in the storyline, here?
There’s a HUGE chasm between the last few steps. If the movie were to continue (which it never does), we’d see yet more setbacks, more learning, and more hurdles to overcome. There’d be more epiphanies and many more Decisions to Change.
Wouldn’t be very Hollywood-like, would it? The endless paths of hope, healing, and hurdles would leave the viewer with a sense of infinite futility. The words THE END couldn’t roll right after the story had been tied up into a neat bow of resolution. Compared to the typical Hollywood movie, it would be terribly glamour-deficient.
Real life – and making constant Decisions to Change – isn’t very glamorous.
But although real life doesn’t offer the “neat bow of resolution” effect, we do get something far better than the actors in movies. We get to continuously learn, grow and change. Don’t overlook the beautiful simplicity in this far-reaching benefit.
The very cyclical nature of change provides the most empowering prize. Unlimited strength comes from the accumulated effects of growth and change.
Each time you uncover a new understanding and take action,
you’re building strength and resilience to tackle the next one.
Grab each learning moment as another opportunity!
The minute you go full steam ahead, you know you’ll meet with a few hurdles. They’re just going to happen. Some will come from factors outside our control, but most come from within. Ignoring the hurdles in your way and trying to achieve forward motion is like driving with both the gas AND the brake pressed to the floor. Not very productive.
Here are a few tips to increase your awareness on this important topic. Awareness will help to keep you moving forward. Pay close attention to your progress after you’ve made an important Decision to Change. Do you recognize any of the following?
Defeat – The first setback you experience leaves you feeling you’re back to square one. You quickly wave your white flag in surrender. Depending on how frustrated you feel, you’ll stay in this state until you make another Decision to Change. Remember that you are your own harshest critic when it comes to making progress.
Vacillation – Do you vacillate or waver on the decisions you make? Do you constantly second guess yourself and your abilities? Do you make decisions based on the pressure of others, and then find yourself stalling or sabotaging your own progress? Fear of making a wrong decision is a big hurdle.
Trickle Critic – Do you start off strong, but then find that your inner critic’s voice becomes louder and louder? That nagging, consistent, negative chatter can talk you into (or out of) almost anything. Are you unaware of your inner critic’s chatter until it becomes so relentless that you can no longer ignore it?
Impatience Roller Coaster – Do you find that when you start off, you feel like a whole new world has opened up? Things are great until you determine that you’re not doing enough because you haven’t attained the results you expected. When you have unrealistic expectations about your results, you’re likely setting yourself up for the inevitable “the effort isn’t worth it” conversation that will happen in your thoughts.
Analysis Paralysis – Do you find that it takes you forever to make a decision at all? You want it to be the “right” decision as if you’ll be shackled to it forever. Do you have an exaggerated or heightened sense of being judged by others about your decisions? That’s enough to stop you cold in your tracks.
Just becoming more aware of the above-mentioned hurdles can help you to navigate your way through change. You’re more likely to accept your experiences as minor setbacks rather than giant roadblocks. Your inner voice will naturally become kinder and less accusatory.
It’s time to acknowledge – without judgment – the feelings of
resistance, frustration, impatience, and inner criticism.
Once you acknowledge how you’re feeling, it’s important to develop a strong sense of curiosity. Ask yourself lots of questions to help you move forward. What am I feeling now? Have I felt this way before? What circumstance made me feel this way in the past, and how did I overcome it? What resources do I have at my disposal? What are my personal strengths?
This self-discovery process can be a bit challenging. Here’s where it helps to have support from a wise encourager or guide — just like step 4 in our movie plot points! When it comes to making Decisions to Change, it’s not easy to objectively review your own fears, motivations, and feelings of resistance. Connecting with a trusted friend, counselor, or health professional can really help to propel your progress much faster than you could on your own.
In one BIG way, mapping out your own health journey is much better than the journey the protagonist makes in the movies. Imagine what it would be like to have every move you make, every new thing you try, and every success or “failure” you experience make front page news. We all love to hate the harsh critics who pick movies apart frame by frame. They analyze and over-analyze every minute of the movie. While we might not like movie critics, we often read what they have to say. The movie-going public likes to rally behind the critics we agree with and shake our fists at the ones we don’t.
With this movie comparison, we can be grateful that our own life’s critic expresses opinions privately. We’re the only ones who listen in. Additionally, we get to choose (through awareness) their words. From here on in, silence the nagging of your personal critic and amplify your own thoughts of healing success.
Sue Ingebretson (www.RebuildingWellness.com) is an author, speaker, certified holistic health care practitioner and the director of program development for the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Center at California State University, Fullerton. She is also a Patient Advocate/Fibromyalgia Expert for the Alliance Health website and a Fibromyalgia editor for the ProHealth website community.
Her #1 Amazon best-selling chronic illness book, FibroWHYalgia, details her own journey from chronic illness to chronic wellness. She is also the creator of the FibroFrog™– a therapeutic stress-relieving tool which provides powerful healing benefits with fun and whimsy.
To learn more about the ingredients in typical everyday foods, you’re invited to sign up for Sue’s free Stop Feeding Yourself PAIN guide.