So many things can stand in the way of making a personal or professional change—it seems too risky, it feels too unfamiliar, or we can’t be sure we’ll be able to control or accept the outcome. Lately we’ve taken on some personal challenges to try and get to a new place in our lives. Our quest for healthier, more authentic living has opened up a whole series of doors, some leading to a thornier path than we might have anticipated, and others pointing the way to exciting growth opportunities for ourselves or our work. This leads to a sort of change-attraction that makes us actively seek change to a greater degree than we might have done previously.
How did we learn to leave our risk-aversion behind? First, any change that leads to some sort of accomplishment is exhilarating and empowering. It encourages us to continue the pursuit additional change—if a little is good, perhaps more is better. Or in other words, a small victory will often lead to more opportunities to succeed. On a personal level, this has been borne out in our family weight loss challenge. After the Christmas holidays we vowed (along with other willing siblings/victims) to get in better shape and lose some of the celebratory flab we had accumulated over the winter. So we have lost weight, for some of us, as many as 25 pounds, to date. We’re all eating better food (and less of it), and exercising regularly. But a funny thing has happened. Losing excess weight from the body has altered our minds, as well. Our attitudes are leaner and cleaner. Some of our old ideas just don’t fit any more. We’re not as interested in eating junk food or oversize portions as we once were, but neither are we as inclined to tolerate out-of-condition thinking or projects with tenuous objectives. Instead, we’re pushing ourselves, both physically and mentally, to work continually toward stronger, more efficient outcomes. Why is that? Maybe Oliver Wendell Holmes was on to something. He said, “A man’s mind once stretched by a new idea, can never regain its original dimensions.”
With that in mind, we’re urging you to consider the challenges you’ve thought of undertaking, but that may have been resting on the shelf. Dust them off, look them over, and decide if they still seem worthwhile. If they do, spend a little time (not too long!) making a plan, and take the first step. You’ll be glad you did.
Some tips that we’ve learned during our journey might work for you, as well:
- Eat less. Less of the things that you know are bad for you, and more of the good. The same goes for work—when prioritizing, give precedence to actions that will help you grow and fuel your passion, and try to diminish the tasks or behaviours that don’t really add value to you or anyone around you.
- Move more. Physically, this means planning for a half-hour to an hour of exercise every day. Mentally, learning something new, or finding a way to integrate a new idea into your thinking.
- Drink lots of water. Or in the case of the mind, feed it often with interesting, challenging articles or conversations.
- Fibre is your friend. Health-wise, it helps with digestion and weight loss, and has a host of other benefits. In work, it’s the stuff that simply must be done, like planning, that won’t always be obvious, but that will keep everything else you are doing in balance.
Here’s to change and challenges,
Megann & Steve