We have all been there.
You want to make a change in your life and you try a different approach a few times, but when you don’t get the results you want you throw in the proverbial towel and give up.
“It doesn’t work for me.”
“I’ve tried that. It won’t work.”
These days it is easy to get caught up in the “instant” hit of pleasure and feeling of engagement when we want something.
Do you want to watch the show? Perfect – you can watch the whole series in one sitting if you want to.
Do you want to know what is going on in the world? Hop on Twitter and you can get instant access to all the knowledge you want.
No time to cook, but you are hungry – order in.
Want to see what your friends are up to? Hop on Instagram or Facebook and have a look.
It is so easy for us to depend on these modes of connection that we have come to expect it in all areas of our lives. But it is not easy to get “instant satisfaction” when you want to change or learn something that is new for you. That takes more effort and requires full-on mental engagement on your part.
We have lost the ability to take the time we need to transform ourselves. We are impatient. We want it yesterday. We want to be done and in the place we envision for ourselves without the mess of taking the road to get there. The mess of getting to what we want is the very thing that holds us hostage and sends our brains into revolt.
Change is messy. Change is hard.
But if you want to make a change in your life that is going to serve you in the best way possible – better health, better relationship with yourself, better job, better engagement with the people in your life – whatever your “better version” of yourself is – isn’t it worth it to take the time you need?
What if you changed the way you thought about the goal you have for yourself? What if you made a conscious decision to take it one day at a time, one meal at a time, one practice session at a time?
Looking for progress, not perfection.
Change, as we all know it, does not happen overnight – as much as we wish it would. Taking the time to think through how you usually show up when things get hard and putting a plan in place to help you when you get to those points is super helpful.
Owning up to what triggers throw you off track is one of the first positive things you can do; and knowing what you can do to help yourself is important.
How you think about the change you want for yourself and how it makes you feel is crucial to whether or not you will be able to get through each day. What you think drives how you feel, and how you feel drives your behavior which shows up in the results you get for yourself.
Shifting your thoughts will make a huge difference when you have a result you are looking for.
Recently I made a decision to work out more. I have done this in the past and I start out working out for a few days and then life gets busy and I fall off the wagon. Before I know it a week, two weeks have gone by and I have not moved outside of general daily walking to and fro from home to car to office to home again.
I thought I was lazy. I thought that I did not like to sweat. I thought that a workout had to be long and hard in order to get results. I thought I was healthy enough that it would not matter if I actually moved.
Those thoughts were not doing me any good at all. They gave me excuses and I felt justified in my inaction. I wanted to feel stronger and healthier, but my thoughts were not leading me to that result. In fact, my thoughts were taking me very far away from that result.
What if I changed how I thought about what I wanted for myself?
What if I thought about why I wanted to be healthier and stronger? What if I gave myself a slot of time each day and put it on my calendar and I just moved in whatever way I wanted to that day? What if I challenged myself to move my body for 30 days and see how I felt at the end of it?
Asking yourself “What if…?” can be powerful. It helps you to see things through a different lens. It can change your perspective and question how you have been doing things. We all get stuck and we want to make changes but it can feel daunting to figure out where to start.
Start with “What if…?”
What if I stopped thinking I am lazy and started to think that I have energy inside me that is begging to be let out? What if I stopped thinking it would be hard and started to think that I will go for it each day and consistently, over time, I will get better at it and it won’t be hard?
Changing the way I thought about working out enabled me to complete my 30-day challenge of moving every day. I only missed 1 day in 30 and I am very proud of myself for that. I did not put any parameters around what the movement needed to be or how long it lasted in order to qualify.
I consistently moved every day. I made progress. I am stronger and I am healthier. I feel amazing and now I think that I am a person who really enjoys moving her body and loves how it feels when going about my day to day as a stronger, more flexible woman with way more energy!
Progress, not perfection. There is no quick fix. You need to consistently show up for yourself.
Go ahead. Ask yourself “What if…?” and see how you can change your perspective and go after what you want for yourself.
You can do it. Don’t wish for instant-success. Change how you think; be consistent and look at your progress. You may surprise yourself, just as I did.