Change is not possible without conviction
One of the hardest things in the world to do is to identify what truly matters to you and subsequently go about redesigning your life so that everything you do helps you move in the direction of your goals. At first, actually, it’s easy, because you’ve already started thinking about the obvious stuff that you’re going to have to change. For example, everybody I know who is concerned about their health knows that they have to exercise and need to improve their diet. When they set the goal to get healthier, they understood these realities. What they didn’t understand and expect is that effectively implementing an exercise regimen would change their daily routine AND THEIR ENTIRE LIFE! Mind you, their goal was exercise AND a better diet. A better diet alone comes with monumental life shifts, too. Consider this:
A new exercise routine:
- What time are you going the gym? 5am? Okay, this is great! What would you have normally been doing at 5am? Whether your 5am thing was sleeping, preparing your kids’ lunch, or your personal quiet time, you’re sacrificing it or moving it to a different time to get in exercise. If you’re simply moving it to a different time, you still have to decide, what are you going to cut? This gets better (and we’re not even going to mention the cost of sports bras and workout gear)!
- Now that you’re getting up at 5am, you need to go to bed earlier! Let’s say that your new bedtime has become 9:30pm. Yup, this means that whatever you were doing when you were staying up until 11pm gets moved or cut. But this isn’t all!!!
- How does going to bed at 9:30pm affect your evening obligations? Lets say that you’re involved in an organization like your sorority, the church choir, or the Coalition of 100 Black Women/Links/Jack & Jill/OES/Mocha Moms —-um, what does this mean for chapter meetings? I mean, if the meeting starts at 6:30pm/7pm, are you committed to leaving at, let’s say, 8pm, so that you can wind down and do anything else that you need to get done before bed? By the way, you still have more decisions make!!
- You got off work at 4:30pm, your meeting started at 6:30pm, your drive to the meeting location is at least an hour long (depending on traffic), and you haven’t eaten dinner. Fast food undermines your health goal. Skipping meals also undermines your health goal. Eating late causes your acid reflux to flare (40+ year old stomachs don’t play around). You could’ve packed healthy snacks, but….
- You didn’t realize that getting healthier also meant more grocery shopping and more cooking more. In either case, your pantry isn’t stocked, at least not with good choices. Yes, you know that you can order groceries from Instacart, but you need to figure out healthier meals first because you know those lime tortilla chips that you love are like 200 calories for six! The other wrinkle is…
- Making time to cook! While you have googled a few healthy recipes that sound good, you’re worried that your kids/partner/whomever else depends on you for meals won’t like them. Besides, you’ve been living off your Chick-Fil-A frequent flier miles.
That’s a lot, isn’t it? This is why the key to long term change and success is baby steps. The changes that lead to success are multifaceted, layered and impact our significant relationships. Essentially, change is demanding; however, there’s a beauty to it. Change makes you own what matters to you because cuts will be necessary. Further, you will only make real and lasting changes when your reasons for undertaking the work are worth fighting for. You don’t fight for changes if you don’t have a vision of what success or a better life could look like. You don’t have a vision if you never take the time to get super clear on what matters to you. When you’re clear on what matters to you, it’s easier to decide what to cut and you will the conviction necessary to insist on the boundaries that you will need to get to where you want to be.