There are a ton of things we wish we could change. We wish we were taller, thinner, blonde, more athletic. You name…the list is long. At least it is for me. But I have learned a very valuable secret…it keeps me focused and allows me to spend my time more wisely. If you don’t like how things are right now, change it. But many of us don’t do anything. We sit and wallow in our own misery, wondering why our life is the way it is. We complain, gripe, whine, and get upset about something that ultimately we can change.
“In order for you to get what you never had, you have to do what you never did.” – Thomas Jefferson
How many times have we thought of changing our lives and never did? How many times have we thought about what we would say and never did? Too many times! When we want something, we want it now. We have a hard time working for a goal we have for ourselves. Unfortunately, our society has become one where convenience and easy is overloading our brains and making us lazy. We take our college classes online…we get our dinners handed us to us through a window…we even have a robot to vacuum our floors for us. Even our workouts are promoted to be ones that need the least amount of time so that we can move onto the next task. Some of us refuse to make any kind of change and others can’t seem to stay focused to complete one task. So, we have this dilemma…how do we make this work in a world that is constantly changing, with our without our response?
How do we make change happen?
There are always two steps that have to be taken in order for change to happen. You first need to want to change something as I sit here recalling when I admitted I wanted to lose weight to someone I barely knew four years ago. For too many years before I did nothing. because I didn’t know what to do about it. I didn’t think I had the time and didn’t know where to start, so I yearned for something that I did nothing about. It was a wish I never shared with anyone. It was the shame I carried, hoping no one would notice as I hid my disappointment from my family, friends, and co-workers. Keeping my head down, trying not to bring any attention to the one thing that made me feel like a horrible person, I just did my best to get from one day to the next. Some days, I was afraid that someone would find out about the one thing that would embarrass me to talk about and so I deflected my self-consciousness when it came to the baby weight I had never lost after the birth of our first son, some 20 years before. I had an excuse and since no one was asking, I didn’t need to prove my lack of action to anyone. But secretly, I cringed when I saw myself in the mirror. Dressing in the bathroom so my husband didn’t get a glimpse of something that seemed so hideous to me made me feel more like a failure than anything I had ever done in my life. Growing up, I thought I could do it all and be it all (I still believe this), and so when I didn’t meet my own expectations, I began to hate my body. Not being the kind of person that would do anything drastic to change the thoughts I thought and the feelings I felt, I suffered in my silence. I know I am not the only woman who believed that our self-worth depends on our outer shell and the number on the scale. It is the quickest way to deprecate a woman’s self-esteem and a sense of unworthiness floods even our subconscious.
So the first thing to change anything is to name what you want to change. For me, at that time, it was weight. It is still a constant struggle for me and since my motivation must come from within, I am only accountable to myself. What do you want to change? What would you make different? Here is a little hint — this is the easy part. We all have something we wish we were better at or did to enhance our lives — admitting what it is and giving it a name is the first step.
I knew what I wanted but wasn’t motivated enough to change anything I did. So instead, I was upset with the same thing because everything was the same. Yes, I have heard that this is a definition of insanity — doing the same thing and expecting different results. In order for us to keep on task, we need to tell someone what we want, especially when it comes to exercise, and one of the best things to motivate someone to stick with an exercise routine is to be accountable to someone — someone who will remind you of your goal — and I had someone like that. Eventually, I got to the point when I knew I needed to run for me, not because she was there, and I became addicted to the high I got when I ran. I wanted to look better and as I lost weight, I began to feel better about myself too. I saw results and knew that I was on to something…something I needed to continue. For the first three months, I never stood on the scale. I noticed my pants were getting more loose and my husband would occasionally steal a glance while I changed in the bathroom and compliment me. But I had a goal and I was more afraid of failure that I never thought I would be successful…even when I raised the stakes — to the tune of 10 more pounds.
The second step is action. You have to do something. If you want to lose weight, you have to change what you eat and increase your amount of exercise. If you want a better job, you need to go back to school. If you want to make friends, you have to leave your house. Things just do not magically appear on your doorstep, just because you want them to. No one cares about what you want to change — this is your life, not theirs. Figure out what you want. Then, decide what you need to accomplish your goal. Write it down, tell others, and never give up. You are going to have bad days and you are going to see no change and wonder why it is all worth it. But instead of being distracted by all the other stuff, you just need to focus on the outcome…and how you can change it. You have the ability and power to do it. Even choosing to do nothing means you are choosing to do nothing. Is it going to be easy? No. When you get what you want — when it is all said and done — you will want to challenge yourself again.
So, the only question is…what do you want to change?
Michelle A. Homme 2014 ©