One Small Step

23 Mar

Few people are happy with themselves exactly as they are and generally there are things we all want to change about ourselves.  Some of those may be big things – career choices, marriage choices, children etc., but most of the time the changes we want to make aren’t that encompassing.  Maybe we want to lose some weight or gain some weight, we may want to improve our relationships with friends and family, we may want to learn a new language or travel more.  There are endless choices for change and endless opportunities to begin them.  But for reasons I can’t explain, even when we have something we really want to change, it can be hard to get started.  We get stuck in the routine and the nagging voice in the back our heads keeps reminding us that we want to change this.  The reminders are always there but we put it off, we procrastinate, we avoid because change can be scary, even it its something we really want.

So try this.  Make a decision about what you really want to change now.  Then instead of trying to enact the whole change, whatever it is, change one small behavior this week that you’re doing which is keeping you from being successful in making the change.  For instance, if you want to learn a new language, this week start looking at the options out there to learn it.  What programs are available for you, what are the time commitments, what is the cost (if there is one) and what will you need.  Just take this week and start looking.  Research all the options and then begin to decide which path looks best.  Next week you can make a decision on which option you like.  And then the week after that, you can purchase the materials or begin taking lessons.  Step by step, you will begin to incorporate the desire to learn the new language into your life.  After a few weeks you’ll be on the path to begin your learning and if you stick with this, doing a little more each week, before long your goal will become a reality.

Let’s look at another one.  A lot of us want to change our physical state – get thinner, get heavier, get more fit.  Every year at New Years lots of us make a resolution to do this.  We join gyms, we join weight loss programs, we hire personal trainers, but the reality is that by about the end of February, a lot of those “resolvers” have returned to their previous behavior patterns and given up.  So try using this easy step by step approach and see if you can’t do better.  For instance, if you just want to change your diet to lose a little weight, maybe this week just give up dessert.  That’s all.  Just dessert.  Then if that goes well, next week maybe you could cut back on your portion size at dinner, and still leave out dessert.  Take it step by step.  Don’t rush or you will fail.  Don’t deprive yourself of what you really want.  Just make a small change.  If you decide one day you absolutely have to have dessert, have it!  Enjoy it and then start again the next day leaving it out.

If you want to get more fit, this week you might begin to research what options are available to you, the costs involved, the time commitments, etc.  Then review them all and see what looks good.  Next week you could take the next step by talking about  your plans with someone involved in the programs you’ve found.  Then you could decide how to go forward, how much time you are willing to commit, how much money (if that’s involved) you can afford, and you could make a realistic plan to begin.  Then you could make a well thought out and defined decision about how you want to go forward.  Then take it day by day, changing a little at a time until it becomes part of your routine.

When we want to change, it seems we expect the change to come quickly, almost instantly but we must remember that we did not develop our behavior patterns instantly.  We developed them over time.  And that’s the way we will change them – over time.  Step by step.  Give it a try.  You can change anything about yourself that you really want to.  You just need to plan and give yourself the time you need to facilitate the change.  Be everything you want to be.  Be everything you want to be.  You can do this.

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