If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably set lofty goals in the past — say overcoming social anxiety — and after a brief spurt of hopeful enthusiasm, have have ran into the inevitable setback or two that made you question if you were making any progress at all. It’s how we deal with these setbacks that ultimately decides if we are going to make genuine progress towards our goals. This is exactly the issue I am facing right now. From an objective viewpoint, I have made some real progress in the past two months. I have been to the gym three times a week without fail over that period — and physically, am probably in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I’ve stuck to my goal of attending a public speaking class once a week, and in fact, most weeks have been going twice a week. I still get very nervous at times while public speaking, but the crippling anxiety that I suffered two months ago has subsided. So why am I feeling so much frustration lately? Read the rest of this entry »
As I wrote in my earlier post, I broke up with my girlfriend of 1 year a couple of weeks ago.
And the past couple of weeks I have done a lot of very painful introspection about what went wrong.
My past couple of relationships have followed a very similar pattern: Read the rest of this entry »
“Life is difficult.”
Such are the first three words of Scott Peck’s famous book, “The Road Less Travelled”.
Personally I would have added “…especially if you have social anxiety” but it’s a pretty good opening as is 🙂
I made a major commitment to beat social anxiety for good at the end of last year, and after one month of 2010, although I am absolutely on track with the short term goals I laid out, I have to say that life has indeed been difficult. Read the rest of this entry »
“80 percent of success is showing up” — Woody Allen
This is one of my favorite quotes lately. How many of us fail to achieve our goals simply because we fail to consistently show up? I was speaking to a personal trainer at the gym the other day who was telling me about the surge of new members they get each January. Many of these people make New Years resolutions to get fit, and after an initial burst of enthusiasm that lasts a few weeks, they suddenly stop showing up. Many continue to pay their memberships for a few months before dropping out completely. I laughed when he told me this, but on reflection, realized that this is a pattern I’ve fallen into myself many times in the past.
I recently joined the gym again after about 6 months of absence. I know that I’ve had severe trouble in the past getting motivated to come in. There’s always an excuse. It’s freezing cold, I have a hangover, I didn’t get enough sleep, or I just don’t feel like it. For this reason I have hired a personal trainer who I’m meeting once a week. He has me on a plan, and I’ve committed to coming in before work on Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week. I’ve blocked out those times on my calendar. Just three sessions a week is a very manageable goal and it’s a nonnegotiable appointment that I simply must keep. I’ve kept it up for three weeks now and it’s getting a little easier every time. When I wake up at 6am I never feel like getting up and going. But I know that I will feel better when it’s over. My commitment to myself is simply to show up. If I’m feeling a little sick or tired that day, I give myself the permission to do a light session. But the important thing is that I just show up. This way, I cannot possibly fail. Already, after just a few weeks, I can feel myself getting stronger.
So how can we apply all of this to social anxiety? Read the rest of this entry »
Have you ever tried keeping a thought diary of all the automatic negative thoughts that run through your mind on a typical day? When you become conscious of the constant stream of negativity that loops through the mind it can be quite a shock. “I really don’t feel like going to work today”. “Boy I hope I don’t get called on to speak at the meeting this morning”. “Why didn’t I say hi to that cute girl? She probably thinks I’m really unfriendly.” “Why didn’t I get up earlier and go to the gym this morning?”
In his book The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle says, “I would say about 80 to 90 percent of most people’s thinking is not only repetitive and useless, but because of its dysfunctional and often negative nature, much of it is also harmful”. As Tolle notes, most people live their lives spending most of the time ruminating about events that occurred in the past, or feeling stress and anxiety about events that may or may not happen in the future. In many ways, this is a total waste of mental energy; while we can sometimes learn from the past, it cannot be changed. And the future, Tolle argues, does not really exist. All that exists right now and the only thing we ever have the power to change is the present. This might seem like a fairly banal observation, but it is actually quite profound. Read the rest of this entry »
Happy New Year to all! How many of you in the past have made New Years resolutions that went nowhere? I know I have, but this year is going to be different. In line with the thinking I expressed in the last post, this year I am setting myself the ambitious task of “overcoming” social anxiety by the end of the year. If I take massive and consistent action in line with achieving this goal, then I think a year is a realistic time frame to achieve it. I have broken the year up into 3 month chunks and set myself targets along the way that gradually increase in difficulty. Like I said before, I think these are realistic and achievable. I consider these goals as nonnegotiable. I have even written them on paper and signed the bottom in a kind of “personal contract”. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been doing a huge amount of reading lately, mostly in the areas of spirituality, psychology and personal development. I’ll be writing later about some of the books I got the most out of. But I was particularly fascinated by some of the common themes that emerge in the area of personal change and development in particular.
If you look at case studies of people who have been successful in making massive positive changes in their lives (whether it’s couch junkie to athlete, nerdy college student to millionnaire, or social phobic to TV host) there are some common themes. Most of these people had a long-term vision, or goal, of where they wanted to get to. They may not have known exactly how they were going to get there, but they set themselves ambitious targets along the way. And they took massive action on multiple fronts to propel themselves towards that longer-term goal. They understood that there would be many setbacks along the way, but that as long as they were heading in the right direction, as long as they kept up the momentum, eventually they would succeed. Read the rest of this entry »