Most of us get ourselves into a “change is hard — big change is really hard” mentality. And all the things we read about how difficult change is don’t really help – they just reinforce our fears.
But does change really have to be so hard? Some changes are very simple. How hard is it to change a dollar bill into four quarters? Or to change a light bulb? Or to order a grilled chicken sandwich instead of a bacon cheeseburger?
What happens is that people focus too much on the change itself, and not enough on the process of change. It is ABSOLUTELY OK to do everything you possibly can to make the change easier on yourself. Trick yourself. Nag yourself. Put things in your attention and in your way, both literally and figuratively, that will remind you of the need to change and/or support the actions of that change. Post-It Notes on the fridge. Scheduling a recurring task in Outlook to meditate or get up from the computer and take a walk.
One of the biggest ways to make change easier is to break a big change down into smaller pieces. If you can’t change everything, at least change something! I know from personal experience that this works especially well with the health/nutrition issue.
For example, I find it impossible to just jump immediately to the healthy lifestyle that I ultimately envision for myself. But I can (and have) switched to eating almost entirely organic, natural and locally sourced foods. And I’m finding I’m eating less because the food is richer and more satisfying. And I find it easier and easier to make healthier choices, even when eating out or having a late night snack.
And I’m not exercising every day yet, like I want to, but I am consistently going to the gym at least 2-3 times a week, and have sustained that for months, which I’ve never done before in my life. And the more I go, the more I want to go. I also found a nutritional supplement that makes my workouts more effective and keeps me from getting sore (contact me if you’d like to learn more about it). Now, I can’t imagine working out without it, and I want to go to the gym even more. And then that got me interested in other nutritional supplements, which I had previously avoided for years, and I’m doing very well on those.
Point is, take change in baby steps if you need to. Just keep stepping in the right direction and all the little changes will add up to bigger changes. A mountain is climbed one step at a time.
“I don’t look to jump over 7-foot bars:
I look around for 1-foot bars that I can step over.”
– Warren Buffett
Image: Peter Gene