How Changing One Thing Can Change Everything
I want you to know that you don't have to change everything. Massive shifts rarely happen in one final 'fresh start', one New Year's Day, one goal setting workshop. Change happens slowly, which is why it can feel like it's not happening at all, which is why people get tempted to throw in the towel. Insert protest chant >> We want results! When do we want them? Now!
Wanting results now is one thing, but betting everything you have on results now is a risky venture. Not only might you lose your motivation and focus, you may lose trust in yourself, or your self-confidence, or worse, your belief that change is even possible for you.
On a quest to overcome binge eating, we're so desperate to get past these issues that anything less than full blown success leaves us feeling like we're failing. The second we choose cookies over kale or have our 3rd bowl of cereal we recoil in self-doubt, tell ourselves we have no control, curse this issue and victimize ourselves for being trapped in the middle of it with no end in sight. We throw up our white flag and surrender to our struggles.
Expecting everything to change at once is a fairy tale. It's a dream that feels so good that we're so eager to realize, that we can't help getting fed up when it doesn't work out like it did in the story books. But life isn't a fairy tale. Life is messy and uncomfortable and long and results often come slowly. Life is a mountain range and moving toward the peak requires long stretches of valley, tough climbs up, followed by steep downhills on paths that appear to lead you away from your destination, then yet another ascent. It ain't always easy, and there's rarely a shortcut.
No matter what external changes we experience, the real change happens within. It happens in our beliefs, our pride, our inner confidence, and in our resilience. It happens when we commit to climbing the mountain even though we know it won't be a straight path. Changing everything starts with changing one single thing- we must change our expectation of what growth is. Growth isn't rainbows and unicorns. In fact, it more often involves a lack of belief and insecurity. But when we truly commit, when we create meaning out of ever decent and valley and rocky path, when we know clearly which peak is our goal, then our most important job is to keep moving forward. We have to burn the white flag of surrender, and call off the rescue helicopters. We're all in.
When we spend more time focusing on our goal and less time throwing pity-parties, when we spend more time praising our successes than criticizing our failures, when we begin to notice our progress more than how far we still have to go, then things start shifting.
You choose your focus, you choose what story to build, you choose where to put your energy. Choose what serves your goal, again and again and again and again and again. You may not reach your goal overnight, but in one night you can create a commitment that is worth betting on. And when you make a true commitment, it's as good as done. Maybe not today, maybe not this month or this year, but it's done. You're on your way.