- by Maria Berardo
Why is it that we cringe whenever we hear the word, “change”? We seem to automatically assume that its effects will be unfavorable, before even hearing what the change actually is!
As a Health Coach, I meet all types of people who can name one or more things they would like to see different, or improved for themselves, but something triggers immediate fear and hesitation when it comes to those ideas being a reality. Most often, it can be enough to have them talk themselves right out of it. What runs through their minds at this point? Is it, “Am I Ready”? “What could go wrong”? “What if I fail”? Yes, these are all valid questions, but then to combat that negativity, I would refer someone in that situation back to how disappointed they indicated they are with their current state, and why something new would not be worth considering. He or she would not have paid the idea of change much mind if they were pleased with the status quo.
We are creatures of habit, so yes; making a change of any size requires stepping out of one’s comfort zone, which, for some, is challenge enough. It is all a matter of training your mind to think positively. I agree that that is easier said than done, but definitely worth a shot. Try adopting a “Seize the Day” mentality, as time seems to be changing just fine. No one deserves to be haunted by regret, either. Remember the phrase, “You’ll never know ‘til you try”? It still holds true.
Here is another way of looking at it. Despite any efforts you can make to ease your mind by thinking positive and not jumping to conclusions, a change put in place by another person or party can cause more apprehension. We cannot control what other people do, so to see some anxiety presenting itself under those circumstances should not be surprising. On the flip side, if a specific change in question is a case where you are the subject, versus the object, there should be little or no fear- you are the one initiating the idea- you’re in charge! Think about it. If you say, “I am going to exercise 3 days a week”, “I am going to get new window treatments”, or “I am going to cut the lawn myself from now on”, that puts the choice of the new direction in your hands. With that being said, the fact that you are in full control of the decision to make a change in your health or lifestyle should provide a reasonable amount of comfort, and propel you toward your goal.
Besides any uneasiness that a change could bring about, something else that usually accompanies it, adding to the emotional stir, is frustration. In recent years, especially, society has jacked up the standards exponentially for any type of wait time. The same holds true for the decrease in tolerance levels for results. It all plays a huge part in the majority currently expecting instantaneous, immediate, or overnight. Not all goals were meant to be reached in the blink of an eye, but with the latest conveniences we have become accustomed to, we can often forget that. Companies have come a long way in their delivery when it comes to meeting customers’ needs. I can’t say I am not a huge fan of today’s luxuries that are offered to save me time, such as Fast Passes, Self-checkouts, Curbside Pickup, Next-day delivery, and even the option to do things online, rather than the old “Snail Mail” route; but please realize that if you desire fast outcomes, your body is not the place to set those expectations. Could you imagine what kind of improvements you would make if a physical therapist gave you a total of one overnight session after a serious car accident? Or if a person addicted to drugs completed a 12-Step Program via a drive-thru? Obviously, there is a time and a place for these benefits, so remember that when dealing with something as precious as your health. Speed will most likely replace quality. That is one risk you don’t want to take.
Additionally, frustration can lead us to blame ourselves if we don’t see immediate results. Remember, we’re looking to alter the existing regime, so a period of transition needs to happen first. A pilot takes off and lands gradually. There are reasons for establishing a certain pace. Don’t be too hard on yourself!
Once an individual has surpassed his or her fear and frustration, change can be embraced. When the mind is uncluttered, the path is clearly paved to get started. A journal is an excellent way to get motivated and learn to keep consistent. Daily entries will keep you on track, around the same time of day, if possible. Document any fears, frustrations, what you would like to see in the end, and what pleasure could come of that. Look for inspirational quotes, or reminders of what will keep you going on days you might entertain the thought of quitting. Stick with people who are going to be encouraging, and serve as your cheerleaders. Try to avoid anyone who would be a source of negativity. Finding someone to hold you accountable for accomplishing your set plans is a great idea, just make sure that they are a good fit for this position. He or she should be nonjudgmental, even keel, and dedicated to following through.
My final recommendation is to keep an open mind. As I mentioned previously, things around you are going to continue to change. Create your own change for yourself, before something else does it for you. It is hard enough to step out of your comfort zone and take that leap of faith, so why take it on with added pressure? Give the new way a chance, regardless of some sacrifices it may take, and you could be pleasantly surprised!
Maria Berardo is a Certified Health Coach and student at Darvanayoga. She uses holistic techniques to help her clients improve their wellness at the plate and beyond.
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