We glance back and say, "Look how far we've come" without realising that most change is only skin deep. Reflecting on the past year and a bit I feel like I've changed a lot, and yet not really very much at all.
I feel very different. I'm calmer within myself; I don't worry anywhere near as much as I used to. I no longer take every criticism or negative comment as a personal attack. I feel empowered to shape my own existence rather than just going with the flow. What I hadn't realised was how much effort I had been putting into maintaining these changes.
At first it was all I thought about. I was reading, listening to, and digesting everything I could find on and around the general principles I was implementing. I developed a routine in my life, one that satisfied all of my desires at the time. Then my life situation changed significantly and I fell back into old habits incredibly easily. I got distracted, and, for a while, didn't see that I had reverted to some of my former patterns of behaviour, several of them being very self-destructive.
It's definitely true that old habits die hard, but I wasn't completely blind to it. I could see what I was doing, but for some reason I was unwilling to take action to change it and it has predictably ricocheted into every part of my life.
I'm done with it now. I'm calling time on my ... whatever it is. Whatever blocks I had against taking action are now going to be ignored and changes will be made.
Environment: I've let my home environment become a complete mess. There's a giant pile of paperwork in the corner of my room that needs attention, and prior to today there was a giant pile of washing in need of the same. Last week I couldn't see my desk, let alone use it, and the floor was disgusting.
I'm currently at my desk, sitting on a chair on the clean floor. The washing is sorted; after tomorrow morning the same will be true of the giant pile of paper! There's more to do here, but being able to sit at my desk to work, open a drawer to find clean clothes and walking on the floor barefoot without needing a tetanus shot were the primary goals.
Health: I've gained over two stone since I got distracted. I've stopped walking and my diet sucks. I feel bloated, sluggish, and generally unhealthy. My diabetes is slowly getting out of control again. I've gone up a clothes size and I'm less able to focus for long periods. My eyesight is also suffering.
I'm back to the diet that was working really well for me: lots of veg, very few carbs and absolutely no added sugar. I'm walking again, at least an hour a day, and I will not compromise on either of these!
Career: My lack of focus has hit my career pretty hard too. I seem to be losing clients left, right and centre, and new clients don't appear to be on the horizon. The process of reducing hours at my day job continues (I'm now down to two days a week) which makes this even more problematic. I'm also now aware of IR35, and if you know what that is you'll understand why that's difficult.
As mentioned above I now have somewhere I can work without having to resort to sitting on my bed. I've spent a lot of time recently researching IR35 and the tax implications of different types of contract. I've started putting feelers out to get new clients and have updated my CV. I also have plans to make myself available via contracting agencies if necessary.
My head: I've not been sleeping particularly well for the past couple of weeks. My thoughts have been all over the place, much like they used to be, but nowhere near as bad. I've been worrying about all of the above, pointlessly. I've lashed out to those close to me, and that's unnecessary.
I've started my meditation routine again, and that's already helping. I've processed all of the above and accepted it for what it was; I'm ready to move on.
Forcing it: I think the most important thing I've realised is that I've started trying to force things to happen, both professionally and personally. I spent a lot of time letting go of my need to control things, and I find it quite interesting that it was one of the first things to return when I lost focus.
One of the intentions I've been holding is to find a number of sufficiently interesting contracts to fill my week, but I wasn't achieving the right balance between holding the intention and taking action to help it manifest. At first there was no action, and when I saw that nothing was happening I leapt to the other extreme and started trying too hard. I know the right balance; I've hit it before and I'll get it right again.
I've experienced two periods in the past year and a bit when I've felt truly happy, and my goal now is to combine the elements that lead to each in a way that enables me to be healthy, have a successful career, and be happy, all at the same time.
The decisions I make in this moment will determine my future life situation. This is the only thing I need to remember.
It's not particularly related to the above, but while writing this post I've had Scrubs on as background noise, and the specific episode that's been playing (Season 5, Episode 7) is centred around the idea that people generally already have what they're looking for, they're just unable to recognise it. It reminded me that I don't just believe this... I know it through experience!