What is drama?
Drama is simply adding unnecessary or extreme emotion to a given situation. It is responding to a situation in a way that is not in keeping with what is actually happening.
Let’s say your goal is to stop overspending on clothing, the drama could sound like this converation in your brain, “Shopping for clothes is the ONLY thing I have to make me feel good, and I have NOTHING else to relax with, and I NEED these new jeans because I haven’t bought new ones in FOREVER, and the winter is coming and I really can’t wear what I wore last year, and it’s a BIG DEAL to me. Not shopping for clothes is going to make me be a WRECK, and it’s going to be a NIGHTMARE.”
The Truth about You
The truth is, you are not a dramatic person. You’re just having a lot of dramatic thoughts.
And the good news is, you can change this habit, because all of your thoughts are always optional. You can always choose to start to think new thoughts on purpose. This is what you’re learning with the think-feel-act cycle.
So you are getting ready to leave the house. Your husband is already at work and the kids are still sleeping. You get a text message from your babysitter that she has a fever and won’t be able to make it today. You don’t have any relatives close by, and all your friends are busy.
This is an opportunity for drama, isn’t it? Or it is an opportunity to choose to have no drama in your brain. You can choose to think, “Okay, let’s problem solve this. Let’s not freak out. Let’s just figure out a solution.”
Once you do the work of realizing that your thoughts are optional, letting go the drama is possible.
It’s not your circumstance
Drama is most often not about the circumstance. It’s not about what’s happening in your life, but it is about everything about what your brain anticipates is going to happen. It’s your brain’s prediction of how everything is going to go bad. Drama is oftenoften making a plan in your brain that you are facing a catastrophe, and looking for the worst-case scenario.
Your brain creates its own drama with its thinking. Crazy, isn’t it?
Even if something terrible does happen. the drama is not about what has happened; it’s about focusing on a fear of a negative future. It’s the result of your thoughts. God wasn’t joking when He admonished us to think on lovely things at all times (Philippians 4:7-8).
Goal drama is a little sneaky; it creeps up most often when you are trying to change anything in your life, because your brain would rather not do the work of changing. It’s way easier to keep a habit than it is to change it.
Goal drama is all the negative judgment that you are adding to your work of achieving your goal, whatever it is. It’s anticipating failure ahead of time, especially the moment that something does not go perfectly or does not go the way you want.
The way out of goal drama is actually really, really simple.
All you have to do is decide this: do I have a problem or do I have a project?
Let’s just look at what the word problem means. A problem is an unwelcome situation that is difficult to overcome.
What if instead of a problem, you just had a project to undertake? Doesn’t the word “project” just sound so much lighter? A project is just a planned undertaking designed to achieve a particular aim.
What do I need to do next?
If it is a project, all you need to decide is what is the next decision that you need to make. What do you need to do right now to keep moving forward, to keep moving towards your aim?
So if you screwed up and spent way too much on clothing today, if you think of it as a problem, it will create great drama for you. If it’s a project, what is the next decision that you need to make?
When you look at any habit as a project, you can stop feeling terrible about it, stewing in shame. You can just figure out what is the next thing you need to do.
Reframing whatever you’re working on as a project can help you get out of goal drama because goal drama can only live in that space of “I think I have a problem.” There, all people tend to hide and bury their head in the sand, thinking this is just too big, too scary, too daunting.
You can step on the scale and see the number go up by five pounds and just see it as a project. It doesn’t have to be a big problem that points to why you are such a loser. It can simply be a project. What do you need to do next?
You can get your credit card statement in the mail and see that you have 5K to pay off, and you can see that as a project rather than a judgment on your spending habits.
You can be out of work for five months and choose to see it as a problem and think, “why doesn’t anyone want to hire me?” or decide to see it as a project. “What do I need to do next?”
When you are really in goal drama, you are telling yourself “this is terrible, it’s too hard, I’m never going to figure it out, my situation is worse.” It then becomes impossible to spot the next decision you need to make because you’re so busy beating yourself up.
When you are working on any goal, you have the choice of clearing away all the goal drama (“this is too hard, I’m never going to figure it out.”) by just asking yourself over and over again, “do I have a problem or a project?” Because a problem is all about your fears of the future, and a project is simply helping you identify the next step you need to take.
Just figure out what is that one next thing you need to do to get a little bit closer to your goal.
I know this sound simplistic, but go ahead and try it out! You will be amazed at your results, and the peace of mind that will be yours! And come back to share with us!