I think I should do it. I don’t think I should do it. It’s called ambivalence: the way my mind tugs me first one way, then the other.
My ambivalence can drive people around me nuts. It can make it seem like I’m wishy-washy or that I lack direction or conviction. However, my ambivalence also plays a vital role in how I make constructive changes in my life.
In fact, I’d like to have all those wishy-washy people who can’t make up their minds about some personal change stand up and take a bow. These scruples might be just what you need to experience right now. The power to decide is yours, but so is the choice to hem and haw.
Ambivalence isn’t something to be scorned or avoided. It’s part of how we change. When I feel ambivalent, I know I’ve moved out of a precontemplative state – that time when changing is the furthest thing from my mind. Arguing both sides of a decision might not feel like progress, but at least there’s a conversation going on in my head. And often it is that conversation that leads me to a plan of action.
For example, I like to eat a lot of cheese. I’m particularly fond of aged cheddar, but it’s also fair to say that blue, Swiss, provolone, mozzarella, pepper and Parmesan make up the foundation of my current diet. For years, I never even thought about altering my cheesy food pyramid.
But now, clinical studies are proving that eating over 53 grams of cheese per day can cause medical problems. My friends are bragging about reducing their cheese consumption as I devour their last two pieces of pizza. And my favorite grocery store has started stocking all these healthier alternatives that resemble cheese, but taste like moist yellow cardboard. I’m starting to feel a little guilt creep into my aged cheddar.
So it comes down to this: I want to cut back on my cheese consumption. I don’t want to cut back on my cheese consumption. I will. I won’t.
Isn’t it great? Now, I’m making some real progress.