If you think back to who you were a few years ago, you might shudder and thank the gods that you’ve grown up a bit. But sometimes change isn’t a good thing, and you can find yourself wondering where your spirit has gone. Suddenly a lot of sentences start with: “When I was…” and end with a put down about why you’re less awesome now. Stop it. Seriously! Whether your new job as turned you into a snappy ball of rage, or a bad relationship has made you a mouse, you can break out of your rut...
How to get your zing back:
Identify what traits you think you’ve lost. Are you frustrated by the fact you’ve gone from gym junkie to couch potato because you’re working crazy hours? Or do you think you’re becoming a snarky – excuse the French – bitch? You need to be clear with yourself: what positive trait do you miss and what do you think has taken its place? Is it a personality or a lifestyle change?
Ask yourself: what started this? Whether it’s your new “friends” or your crazy working conditions, if you can identify where it all began, you can understand what has made you lose your mojo. Ask yourself some hard questions:
Your job is making you a snappy cow: are you being run down by the office hours?
You’re becoming as bitchy as your new party pals: are you getting caught up in feeling cool and superior rather than making genuine connections?
Your new social schedule is throwing your health to the wind: are you prioritising wining and dining over working out?
In the end, the strength needs to come from you, but it can help to throw away bad influences. And remember, this isn’t time to play the blame game and get all “woe is me” - the change is totally in your power, so you’re responsible for what happens.
That said, it can help to remove yourself from bad influences. Like a recovering addict, putting yourself in the way of “temptation” (or triggers) can make it harder to change. When it comes to a job, getting rid of the problem (short of throwing your resignation in the boss’s face) isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean you should just lie down and roll over. Think of positive changes you can make, like being more productive during the day so you can leave on time a few nights a week.
How can you fix it? You can attack the problem by trying to reduce or remove the trigger, whilst also trying to change the shift in you at the same time. In other words: If you’re in a stressful role and it’s making you a zombie out of office hours: you can attack your stress, by going to a cognitive behavioural therapist to learn of ways of managing anxiety, join a meditation class or try yoga.
Another route is to try and manage your job’s stress load by delegating or learning to push back when co-workers expect you to pick up their slack. At the same time, you can manage your zombie status by making it a mission to do one activity before you go home to help wake you up. Better yet, join a gym class with a friend so you can get the body pumping and wake up your brain with small talk.
Sometimes removing the negative habits is enough. After blowing away the cobwebs, your old sparkle can peek through.
Be self-aware. If you can see your behaviour, then you can take steps to control it. This isn’t just about knowing your problem, it’s about watching out for it. If you’re keeping a lookout for it, you can pull yourself up short:
Getting snappy at a friend? Stop, breathe and apologise.
Feeling sick after a weekend of food binging but you’re still reaching for that chocolate bar? Put it down and reach for something that isn’t an energy rollercoaster.
It’s called self-control. Use it!
Spring clean your life. A lot of the time, we get frustrated by bad habits rolling into our life because we feel powerless to change them. It’s so easy to fall into the mental trap of feeling like your circumstances are controlling you: “It’s because of the job.”
Spring cleaning your life might not directly attack the problem, but it can give you back that badly needed sense of control. Start with organising your apartment and throwing out all the clutter.
Next, throw out anything that’s encouraging your bad habits – including frenemies. Be strict with yourself.
You might feel like there is no way back, but there is! You just need to make space in the “new you”, for your old ways.