Do you like change? Does it scare you? For many people, including myself, change can seem frightening. I have learned that it’s all in how you deal with change that can either make it the greatest blessing or the most miserable thing ever. We can’t reach our ultimate potential if we avoid change at all cost. In education, we talk about creating disequilibrium, giving students new or different information and students work to regain their equilibrium by storing the new information or reshaping their pre-existing understanding to accommodate the information. If we know that disequilibrium, or being out of our comfort zone, is necessary for growth to occur, then why does it seem so darn scary to us?
Is the fear of failure the true culprit? We are all scared of failing at one thing or another and for different reasons. Maybe it goes back to society’s pressure to be “perfect.” But, if we don’t buy into the notion of perfection, then are we opening the door to be more accepting of ourselves and okay with making mistakes or failing at something for the sake of self growth? After all, the Wright Brothers didn’t exactly get it right the first time, now did they?
Perhaps, it is the fear of success that scares us the most. If we are successful and do indeed change, we can’t go back to our comfort zone. We are uncomfortable with the idea of a new comfort zone. Let’s use getting in shape as an example of this. Let’s pretend we have a friend who is about 100 pounds overweight and is currently inactive. They wake up one day and decide that enough is enough and they want to live a healthier life. They live on fast food, several sodas daily (whether regular or diet), and extremely large portions of food at every meal. More often than not, we take the all or nothing approach or try to find the “quick fix”, either of which is almost assuredly a set-up for failure. (I say we because I have been guilty of all of these things.) We resort to deprivation diets cutting out carbs, gluten, fat, or subsisting on cabbage soups, all of which are not only unhealthy, but unsustainable. It has been scientifically proven, a gazillion times over, what is necessary to lose weight, but we think we are the exception to the rule or we just don’t want to wait that long to see results. In order to lose weight you must expend more calories than you take in. No one said you had to take in so few calories that you are actually causing metabolic damage, but we go there instead of proceeding cautiously into our weight loss mission.
No one needs to exist on 1200 calories a day and attempt to RUN 3 miles right out of the gate. You don’t have to empty your cupboards and fridge of every single “junk” food item and fill them with organic kale and tempeh and eat plain tilapia out of Tupperware containers at every meal. Quite honestly, if I had to eat tilapia out of Tupperware I would probably be the crabbiest person you have ever met! Instead pick ONE thing to change with your eating habits and find ONE way to become more active. I didn’t say sign up for a marathon next month, I simply said become more active. Go for a WALK 3 times a week, even if it is for only 15 minutes, and work your way up from there. Don’t start by setting a goal to lose 100 pounds because that is too overwhelming and people tend to beat themselves up if they don’t meet a goal quickly. Make your first goal losing 5 pounds in the first month. At the end of the month, reevaluate your progress and set a new goal for the following month. The more gradual the changes are, the less painful they will be and the likelihood of success increases. We don’t need to fear success. We all are worthy of living a better life and showing ourselves respect.
My challenge, for anyone wishing to make a change in their life, is to make your (small, manageable) goals visual to yourself and share your intentions with others. This increases the likelihood of success by serving as a source of accountability and support. Feel free to share your goals here and we can work to support each other. Okay, I’ll start…my goal is to drink more water, 64 ounces, a day and to lift weights 3 times a week for the next month. I will track this on my kitchen calendar and will reevaluate my goals at the end of August. Now it’s your turn!