… a values conflict. • Befriend your moments of confusion and ambivalence.• Take them seriously. Give them your attention, and learn what they have to offer. By taking each nagging thought seriously and examining it for what it has to teach you, with an attitude of investigation and curiosity, we see the real, sometimes hidden value-conflict worth our attention.
When ambivalence is viewed as a natural part of the growing process – one to learn from and investigate with curiosity rather than exasperation – the muddled mind-state that we sometimes experience can be avoided, and the parts of your brain that do best with planning and execution stay more in control. The same concept applies to hopeless feelings, which make it difficult to think clearly and plan effectively.
If you’ve set a goal for change, ambivalence is bound to show up. But even if you “slip” behavioraly in your resolve to change, an attitude of investigation and curiosity will increase your odds of success in the future. One strategy proven to be helpful is to simply track what is happening. For instance, in weight loss, doing a daily “food diary” all by itself tends to correlate with people taking in fewer calories. This is at least partly due to being more mindful. And you can use an app, your phone, a calendar, or simply a piece of paper, but track daily the behavior you are targeting to see what is happening, when, and why. Assessing when you lose your resolve during the day, for instance, can help you problem solve, not just about one particular day, but by discovering any patterns that may reveal themselves. Tracking is a terrific awareness-building skill and the more awareness you have of the inconsistency of your motivations, the more conscious your decisions become, adding to a sense of control.