The Change Conundrum
If change is the only constant, why is it so difficult to do?
My fiction stories feature characters who are set in their ways, forced to change by dramatic life events. But what about real life, making changes when things are going pretty well? I think that’s actually more difficult.
I’ve had the good fortune to be a stay at home dad for the last 11 years. I have loved almost every second of it and never regretted the decision to quit my job and stay home full time. That makes it a little hard to say I’m ready for a change.
However, now that the kids are older I feel like it’s time for me to do more. For the past couple of years I’ve been looking at my calendar, mapping out days, and setting goals. I want to be successfully self-employed, healthy and fit, and travel more often.
But that requires so much work. It’s much easier to fall back into my habits and routines that are focused on maintaining the status quo. Starting new habits is easy, sticking with them is kind of a bear. Years after starting, I’m still not earning a living wage, I’m still over weight and I routinely go months without going more than an hour outside of town.
I’m grateful for all the good in my life, but I’d like to make some changes on my own terms and hopefully avoid anything catastrophic. So at the beginning of 2017 I started to get serious about driving the changes I wanted to see in my life. Hopefully it’s better late than never.
After four months of consistent effort I’m starting to notice some progress. While the things I’m learning may not be universal, I think they might be of some use to others working on self-improvement. The three most important practices for me to initiate change have been mindfulness, healthy eating, and journaling.
- Mindfulness — I use Calm on my phone to meditate every day. You don’t need to buy an app though. Things like lifting weights, walking, or practicing a musical instrument work too. Being aware of your thoughts helps you to pull yourself out of routine responses and do things differently.
- Healthy eating — I’ve found that my diet is a huge driver of my mental clarity. I’m still trying to lose a few more pounds, but I’m less concerned with the scale than I am with how clear my mind is and how well I can focus when I eat healthy. Change is easier to make when you have the support of your brain.
- Journaling — One of my favorite expressions is ‘measure to mend’ and journaling is like a measurement of my life. When I sit down at the end of the day and document what I ate, worked on and felt it starts to paint a pretty clear picture of what is good for me personally. Consistently checking in with how things are going makes it easier to course correct.
I have a goal to write a post on Medium every day for the month of May, this is a big change for me. My focus is going to be on how we can adapt and drive the changes we want to see in our lives. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
If you enjoyed this story, give it some love with a heart. ❤❤❤