Higher quality of life requires change

I love moving. I love to thin out my belongings and arrange them in my new space. I love the adventure of discovering new geography, new stores and new people. I love feeling that my life has been renewed.

Because of that, I used to move a lot. In fact, I can claim more than 50 postal addresses in my lifetime.

I think the love of moving comes from a love of change in general, such as improvement in body, soul and spirit. But I admit, that kind of change is much more difficult than changing houses. In fact, I may have moved from dwelling to dwelling frequently because I didn’t want to look at what needed to change in my internal “house.”

The thought of changing something, whether a house or a life, makes most people cringe. Change, especially deep, personal change, is difficult. We’d rather stay in the comfort of what we know than step into the unknown. After all, change requires some degree of risk.

But if we want to achieve our goals to be better, faster, smarter, thinner or any other “-er” we desire, change is necessary.

The first step to change anything is to recognize a need. Let’s look at an example. Most of us could benefit from more exercise, so we recognize that need. But seeing the need will not make the change. The next step is to determine that we actually want to change. That’s easy too.

The step after that is where we usually get it wrong. We think the next step is to just do it. We merely need to go walk more or join a gym or do bodyweight exercises at home. But if we assume that is all we need to do, we fail.

The step after determining to change really has to be identifying the obstacles in your way and then creating a plan, whether formal or not. The plan must address the obstacles (and eliminate them) and provide a way for you to check in frequently with yourself to update the subsequent steps.

Let’s say you’re a couch potato but you’ve determined that for 2018 you are going to walk every day. So you get up early the first day and are ready to roll. But the next day you talk yourself out of it. By day three you don’t even have to talk yourself out of it, you’ve pushed the thought below your subconscious.

When you examine the obstacles, you may find a list of things. For one, do you have comfortable shoes? Did you determine to walk for too long? Do your knees hurt? Is it too cold or hot outside? Do you get hungry, tired or sick when you walk?

If the first obstacle is comfortable footwear, then you reset your goals to buying new shoes. And you put a time limit on it. So your first goal would be something like, I will buy a comfortable pair of walking shoes by the end of next week.

Meanwhile, you look at the next goal. Maybe it’s super cold outside. So you make a plan for staying warm, or walking at a warmer time of day.

Once you have a good time to walk, warm clothes and comfortable footwear, the next goal may be to determine how long, fast and far to walk. If you truly were a couch potato, your goal should be small, like walk around the block or something. But attach mini goals to that, too. So your goal would be something like this: I will walk around the block five days a week before 8 a.m. for three weeks. This is a minimum.

After the three weeks you assess how you did and then make a new goal.

See, we tend to make big goals and think that’s all we need to do for the year. But when we do that, change becomes scary.

When I moved, I didn’t just go. I had mini plans for packing each day and moving and setting up the new place. That way it was manageable and I was able to have fun.

If you have a New Year’s resolution you have already set aside or haven’t started yet, take it out, look at it again, and find a way to make it manageable and fun.