Change can be overwhelming. We look at where we are and where we want to be and the gap can seem huge and insurmountable. That’s why, many times, we don’t even try. We can’t. The change appears so big that we can’t even get past the thinking about it stage – it’s too daunting.
I currently lead a relatively healthy lifestyle but there are many areas in real need of an overhaul. I look at where I am (store bought cookies and chocolate for snacks) to where the really healthy people I admire are (sprouting their own wheat grass and juicing vegetables I would need help indentifying in the grocery store). It hurts my head just thinking about where to start – which is why my juicer is still in the attic, where it has been for the last two years. So how do you go from store bought cookies to juicing organic greens? The answer, luckily, is you don’t. Well, maybe you do, but I don’t. I can’t. It’s too big of a gap for me.
My yoga teacher recently said that the more you fill your life with the things that are good for you the less room you will have in your life for the things that are not good for you. She said don’t worry about the bad habits to begin with, just focus on developing the good habits. The bad habits will eventually fade away much more easily because you no longer have room for them in your life.
So if you focus only on the one positive thing you want to do at the moment, and don’t overwhelm yourself with every change you have ever thought of making, it becomes doable. All of a sudden the gap is smaller and easier to bridge. Once that change becomes habit, after about 30 days, you can move on to the next small change you want to make.
Dr. Martha Beck uses the example of trim tabs to illustrate how this method works. Trim tabs are tiny rudders attached to the back of larger rudders that steer huge ships. The big rudders would snap off if turned directly. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. It takes almost no effort at all.
So making these small, doable changes in your life will inevitably move your life in the direction you want it to go. It avoids the problem of you snapping from the pressure of trying to make too big a change at one time. Small incremental changes will eventually alter the course of your big life – and my favourite part – with almost no effort at all.
Small, doable changes – and as I explained to my husband, the reason we now have a parsley plant. It’s my first small step to growing our own vegetables. The cookie thing will take care of itself in time. Small, doable changes …