Change: Part 1 - When will it happen?
I haven’t known what to write in my blog posts- so they have been pretty short (refer to my first one- I know it isn’t going to win awards! Lol)
This starts my first series, and I hope you leave me a comment (or privately message me on social media- links are below) to give me feedback. That’s how I will learn - and change! That’s what this series will be about.
Change (like life) is HARD!! We don’t want to change and we certainly don’t like change.
However, many of us are frustrated with some portion of where we are either personally or professionally that we want something different. It can be SO BAD in some areas of life (or in regards to events in the world) that it affects our mental health.
What do we do? We pray, we try, we spend a ton of money on the next best thing- and many times end up right in the same place. Frustrated, angry now that you tried and failed, and stating that you will never try again. Until you get so frustrated again the next time and you start over.. Does this sound familiar?
This is true in our personal lives just as well as our professional lives.
Before you read further please know- I am NOT an expert in change. Nor is any of this blog intended to be a replacement for professional help if you need it. (If you find yourself being depressed due to a change you need or want to make please seek out professional help. I am happy to help you find that.)
I am someone who has, both personally and professionally, gone through many changes over the past few years and have become a little obsessed with it. With that, I feel my story may help someone else to make the changes they need to make themselves, and the world, a better place.
Here’s a little bit of my story.
For much of my 20s I was a travel nurse. I signed 3 month contracts to work in different hospitals across the country. I chose where to go, based on availability (which hospitals had a need), and the states/weather I wanted to visit. I had an amazing friend that for many of those assignments was traveling with me. It was a fun period in my life! There were a lot of ‘young person-type antics’ (we will leave that there in case my son ever reads this).
During those years I was the wild spirit. My mother thought that I was never going to settle down. I loved (or better said - thought I loved) who I was and I would say things like “nobody is ever going to change me! This is who I am! Take it or leave it.”
Little did I know I was a shell of who I was capable of becoming. I had no idea what my potential was (and I probably still don’t fully comprehend that).
In April of 2004 my life changed (and I didn’t realize it yet). I met Seth, my amazing husband. We fell in love and I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was slowly changing from my wild spirit. I did tell him “this is who I am, take it or leave it” - and he’s the first one that said “Ok! I won’t change you.” Yet he did, slowly over time, for the better.
This is not a love story (well, there is one in there, but not for today).
The next big part of my change story is in 2006. I found Jesus driving a coworker's loaned vehicle. The radio was set to a christian station and I didn’t change it. It was the day I realized that Jesus is real, and the Holy Spirit is actually WITHIN me, hears me and loves me (oh - and that is true for you too, in case you didn’t know!). It is odd to me that all came through a few songs in a 20 minute drive, but it did! I remember calling a friend saying, I know you are going to think I am crazy, but I think I found Jesus today. She thought I was crazy. That’s ok.
After that day I started a slow journey (a 15 year journey that I am still on) to realize that a life walking with Jesus is the best life I could ever lead. This 15 year journey has been a slow progressive change story. There are some pretty funny stories with my spiritual changes (like feeling like I had to break up with ‘the wrong’ church because they brought me a pie). However, I will share some of those another time.
Over the past 4 years (since 2017) my change trajectory has been a bit more dramatic. What was the difference in the past 4 years?
I learned enough to be intentional about my growth. I learned to be patient with my growth. Most important, I learned to be kind to myself when change doesn’t happen when I want it to.
Back to the original question. When does change happen? Well, you can see that from the above stories - it happens ALL of the time time! We are either slowly changing in one of three ways: 1) moving forward by chance 2) moving backward by inaction or 3) intentionally forward - this the hardest and most rewarding!
Real change will only happen consistently when you decide that there HAS to be a better way than what you are doing. I call this - choosing your suck. Let me explain.
Last year (Jan 2020-Aug 2020) I lost 35 pounds. It wasn’t magical. I didn’t spend money on a fancy diet. I didn’t do any trendy things. I patiently identified what didn’t work for me as far as food. And I also made a decision that if I wanted to be healthy, and finally get my cholesterol down (and the good up) I HAD to workout. I told myself I don’t like to workout and I had a bit of a struggle to find what worked for me.
I finished an elimination diet in 30 days (that I had done a number of times before) and determined that many of the things that I liked to eat made me feel terrible and feel bloated. So, I stopped eating those things as frequently as I had been. When I did decide to eat something (like ice cream), I knew what I was getting into, and I knew I didn’t want to feel that way frequently. I found balance.
I started a 12 week workout program in January. I finished it! In August. Yet, I was so excited. It took me 22 weeks!!! However, no matter how long it took, I was being consistent. (Top photos are from January 2020, bottom photos August 17, 2020)
What did I say a minute ago about choosing your suck? Well, here is my thought. (This is my personal story, not intended to make anyone feel bad about where they are. We are all on our own journey. You are exactly where you are meant to be. The goal is only to encourage you if you have a desire to change something.)
By not working out and changing my diet I was making a choice. As I tell my team at work - one of the choices when deciding something is always DO NOTHING. That is still an intentional choice.
I was choosing to be overweight, I was choosing to be inactive, I was choosing to eat the things that were making me feel terrible (physically and emotionally).
My suck that I was choosing was to not feel well in my clothes or skin. Not to feel like who I was meant to be.
In January 2020 I made a commitment to myself (not even my husband knew this) to choose differently. Choose INTENTIONALLY the life I wanted to live. Instead of telling myself I can’t, I am not this, I am not that. I started saying. “I am strong” “I am worthy”.
Once I made the choice, DAILY, and with everything I put in my mouth, and every time I either sat on the couch or did yoga while watching a movie with the boys in the living room, I started to see change happen.
My suck that I started to choose was to workout for 20-30 minutes a few times a week. It sucked! I didn’t want to workout many days. But I reminded myself of the alternative suck.
Change is HARD!!!! You guys! If I am being honest - I am back in a rut today! I eat ice cream WAY too much right now. I am not working out daily right now. Change IS hard! It doesn’t come after you make one choice. It comes after you make consistent choices to do the thing (or not eat the ice cream in my case). Daily - or at the least a few days a week.
Let me say one more time CHANGE IS HARD!
And - at the same time - YOU CAN DO IT!! You’ve got this. Change will happen when you start to make the consistent choice that where you are is not where you want to be.
Here is my biggest advice when you make that first choice:
Write down what you want to see when the change is made (Be specific, and write it like it has already happened). Don’t write “I want to”, or “I will”. Write “I did”, “I am”...etc
My example: I finished PBYR (my yoga program) in 18 weeks (yes, this is still the 12 week program - but I am being honest w/myself - and pushing myself a little harder than last year.)
Put that statement somewhere you will see it daily.
Be as consistent as you can! (We will get into this more next week.)
Most important - BE KIND TO YOURSELF! Have I said it yet? Change is hard? It doesn’t take one choice. It takes frequent choices (thus the written reminder in step 2). Although I have all the faith in the world that you will accomplish what you want - I also know you will screw up. PATTI!? How can you say that? Because 1 thing will always be true. You are human. We are all screwed up!!!
Find someone that can, in a nice way, keep you accountable. I am happy to be your accountability partner. Message me on Facebook or email me from my website
Let’s do a quick review. You are amazing. You are right where you need to be. You probably have something that you are way too hard on yourself about and you want to change.
YOU ARE CAPABLE OF CHANGE! Choose your suck! It can happen when you decide.