‘Change’ is a pretty big buzzword about this time of year. New year, new me and all that jazz. How many of us, year after year after year make lists, draft resolutions, and vow THIS time we’ll not only change, but change for good, but….
*insert sound of deflating balloon here*
There are many reasons why we might not be getting the results we want. Maybe we are trying to alter the external symptoms instead of searching for the internal causation. Perhaps we are trying to change and we aren’t the actual problem. We might be taking on too much too quickly.
Yada yada yada…every New Year’s post ever. Right?
I hope not. I’d like to (hopefully) take a different approach. What does change really mean? Let’s look to the word.
C-Catalysts are Necessary for CHANGE
I get most of you have probably slept since Chemistry class, but this is simple enough. If I’m in a lab, and I want to change one substance into a different substance, then what is one necessary ingredient?
I must add in another ingredient that shakes things up, that forces one or more elements to give up, add, share, or exchange electrons. The catalyst fundamentally alters the original substance and a byproduct of all this change is—drum roll—HEAT.
What can we take from this? Well, 2020 was a Dumpster fire and 2021 wasn’t that much better. Why did we moan and groan? CHANGE.
And trust me, most of us FELT the HEAT.
Yet, how did a string of seriously inconvenient/terrifying/world-altering events change us for the better?
Maybe we learned patience, how to be kinder, the importance of self-care. We might have become keenly aware of just how much we’d taken for granted (family, concerts, travel, dining out, shopping, going to a workplace with real, living people).
All great changes that never would have happened without a catalyst.
H-Help is Available
How many times do we try to change but we try to do it on our own? We are embarrassed, ashamed, or maybe just underestimate our own abilities. Hey, I am as guilty as anyone.
I used to LIVE in the gym…then COVID happened and my gym shut down for months. THEN, I went to a specialist and found out I had Hashimoto’s Disease. I eat crazy healthy because of all my food allergies. But, between stress, illness, numerous deaths, being sedentary, and my regular doctors ignoring a serious thyroid issue? I put on weight.
Aaaand that is why I go to the gym when no one is there.
It’s silly. I KNOW. But I’m too embarrassed to attend my old group classes or go to a trainer because I’m ashamed. In this instance? HELP would probably be a good thing.
However, if I can’t set aside my ego and ask? I’ll make reaching my goal of not having to live in yoga pants forever much harder to reach.
Some people say starting is the hardest part. True. When it comes to a LOT of things, I say FINISHING is the hardest part. Yet, when applied to how we live our lives? We won’t be ‘finished’ until we’re dead.
So starting it is!
Too many people underestimate the power of small actions every day, day after day, week after week, month after month.
We all want the HUGE change. I mean, I don’t get it. Most of the time, as I mentioned, I eat ridiculously healthy. But I have two pieces of pizza and it feels like I grow an extra @$$ overnight. Go four days eating holiday food and it is a HUGE difference. So why shouldn’t eating four days super healthy be the same?
It isn’t. We all know it doesn’t work this way, and yes I am bitter about it.
But it is what it is. Instead of fixating on an entire lifestyle overhaul, pick a handful of actions that would get you where you want to be…then do that over and over and over.
Wanna lose weight? Drink water, get to bed at a reasonable time, set a timer and move throughout the day, etc.
When I was pregnant, I did two-a-days the entire 10 months. I swam a mile in the morning, then did weights in the evening with Hubby. How did I do this? I told myself all I HAD to do was walk into the gym and do FIVE minutes. If, after FIVE minutes, I felt ill, weak, tired, horrible (which when you’re pregnant is legit), then I could leave.
In all ten months I only left TWICE.
Instead of setting a goal to work out three days a week, try setting a goal of just checking into the gym three days a week. Why? Because once you’ve gone that far, usually you’ll at least do SOMETHING, which is better than nothing.
Same with writing. Set a goal of 250 words. That is A page. Once you finish 250? If you have to go? Go. But do this day after day and soon you’ll have a first draft and then a novel.
N-Nerve Can be a GOOD Thing
Nerve can be defined as, “the power of endurance or control.” Obviously, this is critical for generating and maintaining change. Yet, nerve also has a negative connotation that means to be presumptuous, to have the audacity or gall to do X.
I grew up in a rather toxic family, and I imagine I’m not alone in that. Did you have members of your family who shamed you for wanting, for dreaming, for daring to forget your place? ‘Friends,’ colleagues, acquaintances who mocked, undermined or sabotaged you for wanting to do something different or to dream big?
Those negative messages can feel all but impossible to erase.
For example, I was largely reared by my Great Depression grandparents. In ways, this was great because I am frugal, I save, I’m an excellent money manager. But, at the same time? I deprive myself and feel guilty for taking a break, a vacation and GOD FORBID…buying myself something nice.
TRUE STORY About CHANGE
My grandfather helped me buy a used Mazda for college. Back in the 90s, however, there were no Lemon Laws and you really had no way of properly vetting a car. My grandfather had a unique talent for picking the biggest lemon on the lot.
I spent thousands of dollars on repairs, and even learned to do many repairs myself because poverty is the mother of innovation. Finally, I was tired of going to school full-time and working two jobs only to have most of my income go to yet ANOTHER stupid car repair.
By some stroke of fortune, I happened to date a guy who did body work. He took one look at my Mazda and told me the reason I had so many problems was the car had been in a major collision. Whoever owned it had done the superficial body work, but the internals were a mess.
What did I do? I went out and bought my first new car…the most embarrassing car possible. But, it was cheap. No electronic locks or windows (fewer things to break), and it was a stick shift (cheaper than an automatic).
Funny fact? I had ZERO idea how to drive a stick. My dad had taught me, but I’d slept since I was ten (it was the 80s).
Meaning, I very literally bought a new car then TAUGHT MYSELF how to drive the darn thing on the back roads behind the dealership.
It was a Geo Metro.
My car was basically a highway-ready lawnmower that almost shook to pieces if I went over 65 mph.
Though it was technically a Chevrolet, I knew it had a Honda engine and it got up to 45 miles per gallon. My car payment was $200 a month and my insurance dropped to like $60. Not only that, but the dealership gave me a $400 gas card with purchase…which lasted at least SIX MONTHS (including long road trips).
I rushed home to show off my “new car” expecting my grandparents to be proud. Even though I went to a fancy private school (scholarship, of course) where most kids drove BMWs and Range Rovers, I’d chosen to be responsible. AND I was willing to proudly park my pregnant roller skate next to any Mercedes.
But what happened?
My grandparents shamed me and berated me for having the NERVE to buy a new car. Didn’t matter that it had a warranty, no damage, was super reliable and cheaper than repairing a used car over and over and over. No, I was out of line for daring to buy something that wasn’t used.
To this day? I struggle. I’m learning to trade in the toxic nerve for the good kind of nerve. Learning I can have nice things and feel GOOD about it.
E-EVERYONE has Same 24 Hours…is BULL SPRINKLES
For more on this, refer to a previous post Advice: The Great, the Bad & Good Intentions Turned Toxic Dogma.
I see this idea all over social media and quoted in books and it is total and complete horse $#!&. But, how many of us run out and buy motivational books? Books on goals and reaching our dreams, and what do many of them do?
SHAME US for not trying HARD enough.
No, I call bull sprinkles.
Leonardo DaVinci did NOT have the SAME 24 hours unless he was doing laundry, bills, dishes, homeschooling, answering emails, and forced to attend pointless meetings about why no one is being productive….while paining The Mona Lisa.
I don’t recall Einstein having to drop the chalk and set aside The Theory of Relativity, to run and pick up a kid who was puking at school.
Did Walt Disney pioneer animation WHILE taking care of young children and elderly parents and also working 40 hours a week in retail hell? NO.
And Arianna Huffington? I won’t go there. If you want more, feel free to read Shame on You AOL/Huffington! NO More Literary Booty Calls.
So help me, if I read one more motivational book written by someone who can afford STAFF who then berates regular working people for not using their time wisely? I WILL have a book burning.
And yes this last one has me ranty, but we have to ditch the lies.
Comparing Apples and Unicorns
I love motivational books, but frankly? A lot of them are a formula to fail.
Let your mind rest, play, and ignore people who tell you if you aren’t working a gazillion hours a week, you suck. Because, you know, famous workaholic CEO Marissa Mayer is a fabulous role model.
She enjoyed working 100+ hours a week! Go her. But she also expected the same level of dedication from employees. Of course, what’s missing? She built a private nursery next to her office after having her child. Did all the Yahoo employees have private nurseries next to their cubicles?
Going out on a limb, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t.
My point being…it’s a double-standard and learn to recognize and reject when a certain level of expectation is absurd. People who can build private nurseries and have a shower in their office have a very different 24 hours, and GO THEM!
You don’t think that I wouldn’t LOVE a full-time housekeeper, trainer and personal chef? No shame on people who have that, just don’t act like we all have the same day. I believe it is critical I use what time I have WISELY, but the amount of TIME is going to vary from person to person.
Change for the Better
In the end, I wish everyone a wonderful, fantastic and life-changing (in a good way) 2022. Expect there will be heat, ask for help, remember small actions ADD UP OVER TIME, believe you deserve your dreams, and maintain healthy perspective.
What are your thoughts on CHANGE?
I hope y’all feel empowered. Some of this advice is probably old but tried and true. Hopefully, however, I’ve offered some fresh perspectives.
If you have any tips or suggestions to add, I love learning new tips and tricks.
But do you feel defeated? Shamed because you are never DOING enough? Especially now that people are working from home a lot more. Are you crushed under the weight of ridiculous expectations (whether from yourself or others)?
Do you struggle with asking for help? Is it hard for you to relax without feeling lazy Do you feel guilt if you buy yourself something nice? Selfish if you dare to dream big?
I love hearing from you, and I am NOT above BRIBERY!
What do you WIN? For the month of DECEMBER, for everyone who leaves a comment, I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice.
What do you win?
The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
***New 2022 classes will be listed next post. HAPPY NEW YEAR!