So often we want to make changes – we want to become different. We want to lose weight or get a better job. We want a bigger house or better relationship. We want so many things. Why is it that more often than not we want the transformation or manifestation to come without having to make any changes from what we are currently doing? We can tell ourselves something so often that we eventually believe it. Many of us think that change works the same way: if we think it long enough it will eventually happen. That may work for a while, but will it be lasting change?
I can remember some years ago, I was really overweight. I had our last son at 35. That is just about the time a woman’s hormones starts to flip. The habits that served me well in my youth were adding pounds at the speed of light. I could no longer get away with dinner and drinks at 11:00 pm then going right to bed. I could no longer eat my warm homemade pound cake and ice cream whenever I felt like it. The days of sitting around just chilling and exercising when I felt like it were long gone. The luxuries I had taken advantage of in my former years were disappearing fast! My knees hurt all the time, I had to sit down and sometimes contort to tie or buckle my shoes, and my blood pressure was on the low side of high. And what was up with the shortness of breath?? I needed to make a change and FAST, but was I willing? I was for a while. I went to the park and walked a couple of times. I made a smoothie or two. I ate before 8 pm. But all of that was VERY short-lived. My husband wasn’t complaining and I didn’t seem to suffer in any other areas of life. I convinced myself that it was all good. I was “happy with the skin I was in”. But was I?
Fast-forward to 2010 - my 25th high school reunion! I was so excited! We planned a huge event, then it was here! I had the time of my life spending an entire weekend with old friends! It wasn’t until I saw the pictures from the different events that I realized there was a serious problem! I kept looking through the many photos wondering “who was the fat chick in all of my clothes?” She looked like me and those were definitely my outfits, but who was that woman??
The following week I went to the doctor to find out, why I was so fat! I REALLY wanted it to be something medical, so I had him run every test in the book to get to the bottom of my not-so-sudden weight gain. I placed my bets on my thyroid. I had self-diagnosed it as the culprit and was fully ready to banish it to the pits of hell for my ballooning figure. I was beyond surprised when lab results showed NOTHING wrong with me. I had high blood pressure, which was NOT a contributor to my weight gain. There was no underlying factor to my burgeoning body. My sweet loving doctor told me bluntly that I just ate too much and didn’t exercise enough. He must have seen that day coming because for years he would ask me about my food habits and physical activity. He offered SO many suggestions. I frequently lied telling him I was doing all of the things he recommended but they weren’t working. But this time I was out of excuses. There was no legitimate reason that I could not lose a few pounds.
I decided that day to CHOOSE to make a change. To my husband’s sadness, I stopped baking a cake every weekend. I stopped eating foods that my body didn’t like and didn’t eat the ones it did after 6 pm. I started moving my body in a meaningful way. I started just one day a week. Before I knew it I had worked my way to TEACHING an exercise class 6 TIMES a week! The change was nothing short of remarkable. In six months I had lost 65lbs. and was truly on my way to becoming my best self. As jaw-dropping as my physical transformation was, it really wasn’t the most profound -- it was my overall metamorphosis. It was the changes in my thinking. I was no longer seeing things from a negative “outsider looking in” vantage point.
There were changes in my mood. I was no longer quick to react but had become slow to respond. I was happier than I had ever been. The clarity in my thoughts allowed me to find the peace in the moment before I chose to do anything. For the first time in my life, I was really happy in the skin I was in! And it was contagious! It was spreading to every area if my being! My marriage was happier. My children were happier. My work-life was joyful. My mind, body and spirit had found their balance and everyone could see it. I was well on my journey to becoming The Peaceful Soul. It wasn’t always easy, but it has been more than worth it.
Are you in need of a change? If you could do anything knowing that failure was not an option and there would be no barriers in your way, what would it be?
Here are a few tips that can help you along the way:
Stop toxic thinking. It has been said that ALL sickness and dis-ease can be linked to negative thinking. In order to change this facet of our person we must be willing to change our perspective of EVERYTHING. It starts with seeing every glass as half full versus half empty. It may not always be the first thing that jumps out at you, but there is good and God in EVERY situation if we choose to see it.
Stop comparing yourself to others. Be the change that YOU want to see. Terry Cole-Whittaker wrote a book titled “What You Think of Me Is None Of My Business”. Follow your own path to happiness, success and self-fulfillment. Stop gauging your success by someone else’s measuring stick -- use your own! Set SEVERAL small attainable goals where you can see more immediate results. It’s great to have long-term goals, but it’s the ones that we reach quickly and time-after-time that help build us up for the next challenge while reminding us “we can do it”!! And be ok with the creating some separation from those that keep you in that space. There will be those that aren’t ready to make a change and will do their best to talk you out of making one too. Those may be the people you have to love from a distance.
Be OK with saying “no”. It took me a LOT of years to realize that “no” could actually be a one word sentence. Once I learned it, I LOVED IT! I decided that I would no longer do things that did not serve my soul AND make me feel really good about myself or what I was doing. I started looking at the many asks and deciding if the request came because I was really needed or good at it or just that I was ALWAYS reliable and would help everyone. (People really will use you up if you allow them to!) The "power of no" was a freedom I had never known. Try it. Embrace it.
Celebrate even the smallest victories! Sometimes the planned celebration was the ONLY reason I was successful! Anything from a night on the town to a new sundress to a giant scoop of vegan ice cream, that special reward can be all of the motivation you need!
Stop procrastinating. How well has it served you to keep putting off until tomorrow what you NEED to do today? Stop listening to that voice in your head that finds 10 million reasons why you shouldn’t change. It’s a liar.
Get comfortable being uncomfortable. I remember going to my first exercise classes. As much as I loved dancing, Zumba was choreographed EXERCISE. I didn’t know the music, moves or hand gestures to signal when things were about to change. I was all over the place. I could have chosen to listen to that voice and never go back. I didn’t. I was cool sticking out until I “fit in”.
Don’t be too serious, afraid or uptight to laugh at yourself. It’s usually the embarrassment of being out of comfort zone that keeps us from doing things. They say laughter is good for the soul. It is! It’s good for the ego too! Once it realizes you are not afraid to shame it in public it has no choice but to retreat and allow your soul to shine, even if it looks like a clown doing it!
Be open. We have become so regimented and focused we get discouraged if things don’t happen the way we planned. You set your mind to lose 2lbs. a week only to lose 1.5 for the first three. You give up thinking it’s not working. Change doesn’t always look like or come when we expect it. Sometimes the change needs to occur in one area to cause a domino effect of change in another. Be OK with the process.
Once you have made up your mind to CHOOSE TO CHANGE, step back and allow.
Change because you want to. Change because you need to. More importantly, change before you have to…
Peace and blessings…
The Peaceful Soul