Transformation is a big word, and not just in the literal sense, i.e. it has a lot of letters. Personal transformation is one of the latest buzz phrases doing the rounds, with every self-development writer, speaker, podcaster and YouTuber in the western hemisphere. Hell, you’ll even find it on this website. I’m not shy of tapping into a little herd mentality, from time to time.
Personal Transformation, although a lingually pleasing and descriptive phrase, holds within it, an indefinable, and elusive quality which can be intimidating. It implies that you must make huge changes to get from one side of it, to the other, and that other side is, just out of reach.
The word ‘Transformation’ on its own, invokes immediacy, an unrecognisable alteration over a short period of time. However, life isn’t a Harry Potter film, and transformation doesn’t come with the flick of Dumbledore’s wand.
Transformation is gradual, very gradual, sometimes to the point of being immeasurable. Sometimes to the point of seeming, as though you’re actually moving backwards. And in some cases, you may well have backslidden, but that reality doesn’t mean, you’re still not moving forward.
That may seem somewhat of an oxymoron, but backslides, or lapses, are just perfect opportunities to learn, grow, adapt, remodel and diversify. Brush your awesome self down, and again start moving forward in your quest for your new, life, goal, body, relationship, enlightenment or whatever else has gotten you treading the transformational boards.
For some reason, our egoic selves don’t register these sometimes miniscule advancements, which over time add up to a full blown, no holds barred, personal transformation. *Breaking News* Your ego is a lying mofo. And you’re now experiencing a personal transformation glitch. You’ve plateaued, albeit, temporarily.
When a person loses a lot of weight, and they bump into an old friend, that friend may use the word transformation when describing their encounter. “Wow, I saw Cindy today, what a transformation, she’s lost over 7 stone” (that’s 98llbs for all you non imperialists).
Yes, it is a transformation, but one which took ‘Cindy’ a considerable amount of time to achieve. Tough, and arduous days, working out. Weeks and months of craving shitty food. Lengthy nights, lying awake, doubting herself. Hundreds of will power walks, past her favourite frothy coffee shop.
Daily planning of each and every meal. Counting thousands upon thousands of calories. Hours of looking in the mirror barely noticing any change at all. Saying no, when all she wanted to do was say, fuck it, yes, I will have a Margarita!
Transformations are not some AHA like moments, when you go from one state to another in a flash. They take a staunch self-efficacy, determination, and more importantly, time to achieve.
Sure, there may have been some AHA moment when ‘Cindy’ decided to embark on her transformative, weight loss expedition. But although a fantastic and exhilarating decision at the time, I’ll bet that euphoric feeling had long dissipated, the moment she first pondered how many calories were in that vanilla-scented candle, burning next to her plate of Kale & Quinoa Salad.
Personal transformation isn’t always plain sailing, and certainly isn’t short
Once you’re aware of this, it’s much more likely you’ll continue onward, and not get too dismayed with the length of time transformation can take to achieve. It’s also more likely, that you’ll see through this temporary inert period, and not view it as a suggestion to give up.
I’ve known plenty of people, who were trying to get from Point A to Point B in their personal transformational journey, who found it difficult to recognise the progress they’d made. That difficulty in recognising small progressions, and failure to give yourself praise for them, can throw a spanner in the works, and cause a person to get despondent. Despondency can influence decision making, and ultimately lead to a person abandoning their journey, before reaching their transformational goal.
Whereby, if they had understood the process a little better, they may have avoided the bail out. The reason I know this is because I’m terrible for starting things, and not finishing them. I am literally, the antithesis of Magnus Magnusson. (Google it)
I have great ideas concerning my own personal development, aspects I wish to transform, most of which never get past the thought process stage. This stage I put down to a natural filtering process, so no biggie. But the ideas which do make it past that stage, have in the past, often been discontinued during the journey. Why? For the exact same reasons, I’ve outlined above.
It may seem, to the untrained eye, that your best efforts have led to zero progression, or at best, very little progression. That’s actually OKAY! That’s actually NORMAL!
Are your Personal Transformation expectations too high?
If you expected to be at a certain point in your transformation, by a certain time, and you’re not quite there, or not even close, and you use this ‘fact’ to say things like “Bollocks to it” or “It’s too hard” or “I’m getting nowhere fast, what’s the point” then you really are doing yourself a disservice.
Also, using someone else’s experiences or journey as a yardstick, can throw you off course pretty quickly. Just because Yolanda Squatpump from number 32, lost all that weight in 6-8 weeks, doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong, if after 8 weeks, you haven’t dropped one dress size.
Regular stock takes are essential to recognising the progress you’ve made. Involving someone else, a close (honest) friend, or partner, to give you their opinion, will also help with the parts your self-criticalness is blind to. Other people are great at seeing things about ourselves, that are invisible to us.
Look closely, there is progression…I guarantee there is! Can’t see it? Look again…look harder…there ya go!
Ok, its maybe not lived up to your expectations, but that’s irrelevant, experiences very rarely live up to expectation. Progression is progression, no matter how small, and when you find it, give yourself a hearty pat on the back. And let’s face it, this is a personal transformation you’re going through here, it’s not a walk in the park. (Unless your transformation is agoraphobia based, then I guess it would be)
Notice your own progress, and make sure you celebrate every small step. Quit the self-criticism, and learn to be amazed at the painfully slow, but naturally so, personal transformation you’re quite capable of achieving. Embrace the glitch…