It’s that time of year again—time for change! What is your New Year’s Resolution? Perhaps you want washboard abs, to save money for spring break in Cancun, or achieve the elusive 4.0 GPA for the spring semester. Regardless of what you want to change or improve, why wait until the New Year to do it? What’s so special about the New Year? In my opinion, nothing! We should be receptive to change throughout the year instead of placing it aside for a New Year. Before you know it, next year turns into 2 years, 5 years, and then never. How about this for a New Year’s resolution: from here on out, you will not wait for a New Year to make a resolution. Instead, you will be open to change year-round!
Today, I’m not going to focus on how to make a change. There are plenty of articles, books and guides out there that address this issue. If you are interested in a thorough discussion on making lifestyle changes, check out Awaken the Giant Within: How to Take Immediate Control of Your Mental, Emotional, Physical and Financial Destiny by Tony Robbins. I briefly mentioned this book in another article (CHECK IT OUT HERE). Instead, I want to focus on a crucial point in the process of change—the breaking point.
What’s A Breaking Point?
Have you ever reached the point where you find yourself saying enough is enough?
“I can’t stand the fat surrounding my midsection. Every step I take sends a shock wave that reverberates across my midsection. Gross!”
“I’m pathetic! I can’t walk up more than two flights of stairs without gasping for air. Walking to class feels like running the Boston Marathon. What would I do without Uber? I can’t live like this anymore”
“These grades are killing me. Forget about getting a job; it looks like I won’t even graduate. My life is over”
This, my friend, is the breaking point. It seems counter intuitive, but reaching the breaking point can be beneficial when used as a motivator for change. But Myles, I hate feeling this way! Yeah, it sucks, but it is a critical step in the process of change; trust me!
The Breaking Point Can Lead to Powerful Motivation
Reaching the breaking point is an extremely important step in the process of change. Why? Because change has to come from within; external pressure—from friends, family, teachers, etc.—is not enough to elicit long-term change. For instance, if I tell a heroin addict to stop shooting up heroin because heroin is bad, are they going to stop? No, they will probably tell me to fuck off and continue to shoot up that smack. In the long term, I can’t prevent them from destroying their body. They have to reach a breaking point where they realize enough is enough. Perhaps this occurs when a friend dies from a drug overdose, a near death experience, or they finally realize how their drug abuse affects their loved ones. Drugs are an extreme example, but breaking points are applicable to all lifestyle habits—diet, exercise, work and school performance, and relationships, etc.
The breaking point is like a kick in the ass from David Beckham. Although it leaves us bruised and hobbled, it’s an incredibly powerful moment that can inspire great change. The kick is the source of motivation that gets us moving. If we stay in the same place, chances are we will receive another kick. But, if we move in the right direction, we can avoid getting kicked again. It’s important to realize that the kick has to be powerful enough to make us move, otherwise we might stay in the same position. For instance, instead of an elite soccer player, imagine a two year old kicking us. Sure, it’s annoying and irritating, but we can put up with the nuisance. If we can tolerate it, why move? That’s why the breaking point is so important: it’s our source for powerful motivation! And, powerful motivation is the key to everlasting change!
Powerful Motivation Leads to Long-Term Change
Making a change in the short-term is easy; it requires little motivation. For instance, I won’t think about sex for the next five minutes. Never mind, bad example. How about I won’t eat any sweets for the next five minutes. See, that was easy. What about an hour? Still easy. How about a day? Now it’s getting harder. A month? Hmm, now you’re pushing it. In my opinion, stopping for the sake of stopping, like the example above, is not an effective method for inciting long-term change. If I don’t want to change, what’s going to stop me from indulging in sweets in the long-rung? The answer is powerful motivation. And where does the powerful motivation come from? That’s right, the breaking point!
My Breaking Point Story
I would be remiss if I didn’t include a recent, personal example. About a year ago, I had a breaking point. Minor compared to other people’s breaking points, but important nonetheless. After being out of school for over two years, and working an unsatisfying, mundane job, I realized I couldn’t do it anymore. The quotidian 9 to 5 job—the same thing over and over again—became enervating to the point where I felt like a robot just doing its job. I had enough!
Instead of becoming a perpetual whiner, who wants change but doesn’t take the steps to make the change, I used the breaking point to kick myself in a new direction. After careful consideration, I realized that I wanted to change my career path and to reach my goal I needed to go back to graduate school. I used the motivation to put a plan together: I reduced my spending to save as much money as possible; I studied my ass off for the GREs; and despite the mundaneness of my job, I worked harder to ensure that I received excellent recommendations from my managers. The determination and hard work payed off. A year later, I’m right where I want to be—where I belong. More importantly, I learned a valuable lesson: life is too short to do something that you are not passionate about.
Today, I still reflect on my breaking point, and appreciate the importance of that crucial moment. Overall, the breaking point served as a powerful motivator which led to long-term change and it also taught me a valuable lesson which serves to reinforce that change.
Putting It All Together: The Breaking Point is a Catalyst for Long-Term Change
Use the breaking point to your advantage. As a powerful source of motivation, the breaking point can drive you to the change you so desperately want. After you successfully make the change, don’t forget to reflect back on the breaking point and why you sought to make the change in the first place. Don’t be a victim to falling back to your old tendencies; at the end of the day, we want everlasting change. Finally, we don’t have to wait until a New Year to make a change. Forgot about New Year’s resolutions—make the change now!
Change comes from within, so does BEing ELITE!