It’s that point in the process of behavioural change, at which we are on the verge of laying down a new pathway. As we stand there, deliberating the fresh, untrodden ground for the first time, possibly even drained from the effort it has taken to get this far, it is useful to know that we are also close to rejecting the opportunity in favour of the familiar. Our preparation has taken us tantalisingly close to something new, yet we are about to turn our backs on it all, for a continuation of what we already know so well. This is to be expected and it explains, in part, why developing new habits can be a bit tricky.
The consequences of taking the new road are, of course, unknown. You may have to be more persistent than you’d like, or maybe your old pattern will simply disappear because it was so much more fragile than you believed. It’s even possible your life will change forever. The only guarantee is that you will discover something about yourself. In any case, you stand at this junction because of your intent. You have undoubtedly worked hard to get here, so it helps to remember: the closer you get to your goal, the more difficult it becomes.
Faced with the unexplored, it’s normal to question what the next step may bring or even the wisdom of taking it in the first place. At the same time, you are beckoned by the intimacy of your existing patterns, offering a return to the reassuring landscape of your comfort zone. The comfort zone is a place of enjoyment when we want it, and refuge when we need it. We redefine it as we grow, but it should not contain us. Neither is it the only force which restricts us.
Like it or not, we are responsible for how we live our lives. According to the theory of Script in Transactional Analysis, long before we can possibly realise, we have already made decisions about the strategies we will use in order to influence our environment for our own needs. Some of us do it using virtuous strategies, some of us manipulate. Most of us use a combination of the two, but we all have our ways. And once determined, those strategies are used repeatedly throughout our lives, remaining largely unchanged and unnoticed, but for our awareness.
Significantly, our script seems to have a keen interest in keeping us where we are. Just as an alcoholic is prevented from change by the unwitting influence of his alcoholic friends, so it is with our script. Both script and the other players have a stake in maintaining the status quo. There is a particularly clear account of this in the journal post, ‘One Day I Will Win’.
Knowing that the process is tough, allows you to relax. You were convinced of this journey when you set off, so why waver now? It’s part of the process. In fact, it should also be part of your process to write down your commitment to yourself early on, because the day will come when you might need it. When it does, read what you have written, look back over the journey so far, and appreciate how far you have already travelled. And then, with the same intent which got you here, take another step.