Making Small Changes
It’s still January and many of us are still trying to keep to unrealistic New Year’s resolutions.
In my now 50 years of life on this planet I have learned that making small changes is the only way to make big changes. That making New Year’s resolutions is more of an exercise in futility than it is an exercise in improving ones life.
Don’t get me wrong, I had the same lofty goals I have every year. I wanted to lose weight, save money, be happier and look and feel good too. I usually start off the year by denying myself all the things I love like bread, chocolate, wine and anything that might be construed as comforting. I also tell myself I will go to the gym regularly.
I have a fair amount of will power and I am able to tolerate just about anything. That doesn’t make me motivated, though.
Last summer I hit the wall. I found myself in a place I had flirted with but had never spent more than a few days there before. This last summer I found myself so stuck that I reached out to a therapist who was crucial to my well being. We talked about a lot of things – about making changes and about having those changes stick. Her advice was to take baby steps.
Make small changes and eventually those small changes become big changes.
It seems really simple and something that most people who are trying to grow know. Big changes are just too easy to give up on. Smaller changes are easier to keep and easier to build on.
So this year, my first small change was to give up Diet Coke. I want to get healthier and putting Diet Coke into my body several times a day can in no way be construed as healthy. I knew I had to give it up if I ever wanted to be healthier.
I also knew if I gave up other things like chocolate or wine or started going to the gym in the same week that I would fail. So, I focused on the small change of switching out my Diet Coke for tea.
I’m not going to lie, it sucked. It REALLY SUCKED.
But, after two weeks of headaches and anxiety I am now free of the Diet Coke monkey that had been on my back since the late 1980s.
After two weeks I’ve experienced less joint pain, I sleep much better, my skin is clearer, my eyes are brighter and I think more clearly.
I have many more small changes to make and getting this one small change under my belt is a huge confidence booster. Now that I know I can kick the Diet Coke habit I know I can do just about anything.