Doing Things Differently

I am a great believer in the value of doing something differently. With a track record of making the same mistakes, over and over again, I also know that doing things differently is, for me, incredibly and infuriatingly hard. Einstein hits the nail on the head, so I expect that I am not alone:

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Doh. It is, of course, far easier to realise this than it is to change the behaviours, or routines, or thought processes that inform how we behave.

My eating disorder was full of jammed brakes and spiralling circles. It was characterised by doing the same thing, over and over again, and hoping that, at some point, things would change.

That the fear of food would diminish, even though I didn’t offer myself the chance to gather any supporting proof. That the bingeing and purging would cease – without me changing the routine and starting to eat. The loneliness, vanish, without me venturing out; and the OCD stranglehold, miraculously lighten, without factoring in a plan to change, nor building up the evidence that it would be okay.

You get the idea.

A few days, the penny finally dropped and I realised that I have been repeating the same mistake again. That I have been trapped in a situation which makes me feel miserable, and frustrated, and stuck; and I have been hoping that, by returning to the same situation enough times, something will eventually shift.

I think that’s an example of Einstein’s “insanity” –

Which means that I need to create my own change.

My current stuck-ness relates to my working life. It is connected to how I feel when I am at – and leave – work; and the knock-on implications that this has when I finally get home. I am therefore going to see, as I really have nothing to lose, whether it helps if I do things a little bit differently; and whether I can be the change that improves my feelings and mood –

So, today, I am going to take the initiative with relationships at work – rather than waiting for the relationships to come to me. I am going to stop flicking between multiple tasks and leaving with a sense of dissatisfaction, and start approaching them methodically, and ticking them off one by one. I am going to wear something different, to break with the routine; and sit somewhere different, to explore the impact of the view; and drink tea, rather than coffee, to add in a little variety –

I probably have some bigger changes ahead; but, I can start laying the foundations and gather the momentum by rocking the boat a little bit –

Because, I have already proved that I can do things differently – and if I don’t start doing things differently on this occasion, I can’t expect the results to change.

What have you done differently to make things change for you?

Stuff that would suggest the penny needs to drop, for me, on frequent occassions…..Tomorrow; Stepping off the Hamster’s Wheel; Small Steps; and The Yes Once Rule.

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2 Responses to “Doing Things Differently”

  1. girlundiscovered says:

    I find that a really hard question to answer, and my first instinct is to say I don’t know.

    When I think a little harder, this week I have tried to do things differently and it has made me think. I actively need to start doing things differently. Not just thinking about them or wondering what to do, but actively doing something differently in small ways.

    This week, I decided on some level (probably post-counselling) I’d risk going without my usual snacks. I know I am afraid of being hungry, because this is what I think of when I think of being anorexic and subsequently, depressed. So I’ve tried to wait that little bit longer and swap the sugary pastry (that I use to feel better about my day) for some yoghurt, which of course isn’t as exciting, but if I’m actually hungry will fill the hole as well.

    I’ve managed to do this for two days thus far, and it feels like a revelation to know I don’t have to reach for the work biscuit tin for the afternoon to pass me by. It feels like it would be easy to slip back, which is why I’m trying to stay aware of myself, but it does feel like I’m making an actual step somewhere.

    I also was able to stop a lonely, fed-up evening into a full-on binge. I slowed down, let myself taste things and check out if I really wanted them, and learnt I didn’t. I wasn’t mean to myself and moved on.

  2. James says:

    Even the tiniest most seemingly insignificant change can feel like a revelation. It’s pretty mundane, but I find sometimes that even walking a different route on my way home just to break out of the same-old and predictable routine is really refreshing.

    You’ve got a great point that you’ve got to make your own change. For years I was doing the same thing and expecting everything to just sort itself at some point. Suffice to say, the different results didn’t come. Sometimes we’ve got to stop, say ‘what am I doing? Should I approach this another way and see if I get better outcomes?’ or ‘let’s vary things up, so I don’t get stuck in a rut’.

    Really resonant post Melissa, and good to hear that you’ve had progressive revelations the past few days Girlundiscovered. Little changes all add up to greater shifts and triumph over the eating disorder and anxiety.