Why changing your life will make things worse

confusedThere’s a curious phenomenon that happens when you decide to do something different. It is rarely spoken about other than in hushed voices or tearful complaints. When you start off doing something new, all hell breaks loose.

I used to blog on Blogger. Instead of using a standard template, I spent hours learning HTML and CSS and fully customized my blog. I even coded pages before Blogger built in the functionality. Although none of that remains (I reverted back to a standard template recently), I knew my way around that program.

When I changed over to WordPress, none of the things I knew about Blogger mattered anymore. Now it took me so much longer to write a post, insert a photo, add a link. My sidebar widgets required coding and nothing about the new platform was intuitive.

The learning curve was steep. I didn’t know what I was doing and frankly, I felt stupid.

It would have been so easy to go running back to the safety of Blogger and forget about WordPress but at that time WordPress was a far more sophisticated platform with much more functionality than Blogger. I made a commitment and I stuck to it. I spent hours on the WordPress forum asking questions of the experts while marvelling at the elegance of the blogs they had created.

When we embark on a new journey, whether it is embracing intuitive eating, leaving an old relationship, or uncovering our inner voice through creative writing, things go to shit. We are beginners in a strange country where we don’t speak the language. All of the skills we brought from our old lives now seem useless.

Stop when I’m full … how the fuck do I know when that is?

Dating for the first time since the breakup … why the fuck didn’t I say what I wanted?

Find beauty in my creative practice … you’ve got to be joking — all I produce is shit!

The secret is to find a mentor, a role model, a teacher or a coach who has gone through the same process and knows how it works. When I stopped dieting Renée Stephens kept telling me I was doing it right even though I felt like I was doing everything wrong. When I started dating, my single friend Paula helped me decide when to stay and when to go. When I started writing seriously, my University lecturers told me that my writing was good and that all first drafts are shit.

And most of all, they made sure I keep on going.

The beauty of a relationship with someone who knows what they are doing when you’re clueless is that they keep you from giving up and scurrying back to safety. They know the benefits of persistence and that baby steps all add up. Their competence demonstrates that the benefits outweigh the hardship. They inspire you.

So find someone who understands the changes you’re making and ask them to keep you accountable. That person can be someone on a forum, an enlightened friend, a teacher, a coach or a mentor — whatever works for you.

And you know that I can help too. But you knew I was going to say that didn’t you?

Who has helped you learn how to progress from being a beginner to knowing your stuff?

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About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing

4 thoughts on “Why changing your life will make things worse

    1. Dearest Magda

      I’m talking mostly to myself. I have struggled all semester to come up with cohesive structure for my memoir and I only just nailed it this week. I hate feel like I don’t know what I’m doing (and being the dummy in the class). It got me thinking about all of the other things I’ve been a beginner at and how I’ve got through them.

      But if you saw yourself in my words, then that’s exactly what I always hope for. Keep going my love, it took both Shelley and me two years! You’re doing great 😀

  1. haha-funny Magda; I thought she was talking to me! :-0

    But guess what-I think I found a purpose and point of my memoir-thanks to you bringing that up and then pushing it a bit further by explaining it. And you’re right-now I see 2 books…LOL Have much research to do as both subjects have been written about before-and I want to see what worked in those other books and what didn’t. Anyway, thanks for the tip! xoxo

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