“A nail is driven out by another nail; habit is overcome by habit.” -- Desiderius Erasmus
To be at peace, we need to break our self-limiting habits (and conditioning).
If you find yourself unhappy with the prospect of repeating yesteryear and obtaining the same middle-of-the-road result, isn't it about time you did something different?
Look at your soul-sucking habits.
There’s plenty to scrutinise!
And change one small aspect of it (i.e. not taking enough daily exercise) and focus relentlessly on it until you notice that it's become a ritual. It won't happen in 21 days, nor 66. It will happen when you sense a lifting of your mood by dint of the fact that you can see you've broken through to the other side: you're not repeating yesterday's stupid behaviour that's been delivering such appalling results. And if your confidence will allow, move on to the next one.
But always think the tiniest step you need to take, and not some giant leap, like giving up wholesale something that's been part of your life for a long time. (If you've taken no exercise up to now, I suggest you do the minimum amount but do it every day until it becomes a habit.)
I’m quite sure that motivation and willpower have to be part of the process, but in my experience if you know you shouldn’t be doing something because of the way it makes you ‘feel’ then that’s often enough of a jolt to start now a changed habit.
Of course, there’s plenty of evidence of people who’ve started with the best of intention only to fail. But that’s only because they’ve started with some huge goal that quickly seems just that...too big.
My approach is much simpler. Take apart your negative habit and do the smallest thing possible to change your behaviour.
If you can’t see yourself doing even that, then my advice is don’t bother. You have to be committed to the process beyond ‘it sounds like a good idea’. You have to see the new person. More than that you have to taste the emotion.
In writing this post like many others, I often feel that I’m letting you (and me) down; namely that I should be positing some new methodology that will supplant all these old chestnuts. But the truth is that so far as living is concerned, there’s not much to improve on than doing more of the right things and less of the negative things. You don’t need me or others to tell you what that they are.
You know it in your heart.
Also, don’t think there’s some model life. Your life is your life. That said if your life isn’t riven with regret, anger or remorse then that’s not a bad place to start.
[Of course, if you know a better system, do let me know.]