They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. As far as I can tell, by that measure that means most of us are bat sh*t crazy! LOL! In all seriousness, I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Many of us have things we’d like to change in our lives. I know I do! But how many of us actually take positive steps forward to create those changes without getting overwhelmed by the seeming enormity of the task or just don’t even bother getting started in the first place?
If we want to loose weight we suddenly think we’re going to start on a specific date and completely change our diet or start an entirely new exercise program. And then by the second week or so we’re off the wagon and wondering where the days have gone. We end up feeling like change is impossible and give up.
If we want to change something in a relationship we sit down and have that Come to Jesus talk with the other person, lay out everything that’s wrong, agree to change and then realize a week or two later that we’ve fallen back into the same habits with that person again. We feel like change is impossible and give up, only to be unhappy and perhaps have another emotional explosion come again in the future.
If we just don’t feel great maybe we decide to start a meditation practice because we heard that would be good for us. So we sit down and try to do 20 minutes the first time out, end up looking at the timer approximately 3 billion times in the first 5 minutes and then think we just can’t do meditation and give up on ourselves.
Any of this sound familiar?
Yeah. Me too. But if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result, but then we try and make some change and it “doesn’t work”, what is there to do?
We live in world where we’ve been conditioned to think we can just “fix it” right now. We can take a pill and everything will be all better. We want instant results. We want instant change.
But when was the last time that actually happened? Even if you have something you need to take an antibiotic for, it takes several days for that antibiotic to work! You aren’t cured instantly.
When you take that antibiotic you are doing one small thing, very consistently for a short period of time and then you measure the results. Maybe you take that pill once or twice a day. That probably takes you about 30 seconds. You do that for five days and then you measure the results. If all is well, great! If not, you go back to the doctor.
What if we applied this idea to the big changes we want to make in our lives? What if instead of changing our whole diet we picked something small like eating an extra serving of vegetables at dinner each night for a week and then noticed the change that created? What if instead of trying to change our whole relationship overnight we just chose to speak to them kindly when they forgot to take the trash out again instead of yelling about it and then ask that person how they felt at the end of the week? What if instead of trying to do 20 minutes of meditation every day we started with 1 minute 4 days this week and then wrote down how we felt after each session to see if there was improvement?
It takes time to see change. We can start without doing everything at once. And if we check in with ourselves consistently, we can see that these small acts start to pile up. It takes patience.
This month I want to encourage you to make a small change that will help you see that small changes can add up. I’m bringing back our annual gratitude challenge but in a shorter easier to manage format.
Starting today - grab a journal or a notebook and write down three things you’re grateful for each day. Do so every day through November 26th (that’s 21 days, which some studies show is what it takes to start a new habit). Show it to me by December 1st and you’ll get a little prize (you can leave it at the studio with your teacher if you won’t be able to see me during that time). This may seem like a small practice, but it can really make a big change in the way you see the world.
I look forward to hearing about what you’re grateful for in the coming weeks!