Why don’t we change? We all think about, talk about, even dream about making big changes in our lives. Even if one area of our life is great, there is always another that needs work. And it seems like those are the toughest to change.
One of the reasons we avoid change is because we think it will take too long. This is especially true when it comes to health and wellness. You want to order the salad, but instead choose the fries. You know you should take the stairs, but get on the elevator anyway. You want to lose weight. You know you should exercise. You think about the body you want.
Change does take time. There is no way you can lose twenty pounds with the snap of your fingers, and you can’t get fit and muscular overnight. But becoming well happens in an instant. It happens the moment you stop saying things like “I want,” “I should,” and “I think,” and firmly state “I am!”
Think about the difference between these two statements… 1.) I would like to be healthier, leaner, and more fit. 2.) I am healthy, lean, and fit. The behavior that each elicits is dramatically different. When someone would like to do something, there is so much uncertainty. It’s a constant effort. But when you decide that you are something or somebody different, all of your thoughts, actions, and beliefs change instantly, leading you to results that you are seeking.
When a smoker tries to quit, it is a constant struggle. Why? Aside from the chemical addiction, there is the belief system that binds them. What does a smoker do when he or she is stressed? Smokes. After meals, or at specific times of day, what does a smoker do? They smoke. What do smokers think about the whole time they are trying to quit? Smoking. Is quitting hard or easy for a smoker? Hard. This is what happens when a smoker tries to quit. It’s a struggle, it’s difficult, and they often fail.
Don’t you know someone, though, that just quit smoking one day. They did it cold turkey, never to pick up a cigarette again, and didn’t seem to struggle. What was their secret? They decided that they were no longer a smoker. That’s it! They changed who they were. They shifted from a smoker to a non-smoker in an instant. They were no longer a smoker trying to quit, they became a non-smoker, and non-smokers don’t struggle with smoking.
This shift can happen in any area of your life. If you are a deadbeat parent, an unfaithful spouse, an unreliable friend, a mediocre employee, or are overweight, out of shape, and sick, you will remain that way. If you see yourself as any of those things and decide to try to change, it will be a constant and never-ending struggle. But the moment you decide to be that person you want to be, rather than remain a trying version of your current self, you will become successful.
A woman who smokes gets pregnant for the first time, and stops immediately because now she’s not a smoker, but a mother whose primary emphasis is on the health and well-being of her developing baby. The guy who is overweight and never exercises has a mild heart attack, gets a glimpse of death, and begins daily exercises, gives up the junk food, and starts managing his stress. The father who is never around has his small child look him in the eyes and ask, “Why don’t you love me, daddy?” This rocks him into making parenting a priority.
While a crisis often precedes a life-altering shift, it is not required. It can happen any time, in an instant, the moment you decide that the person you’ve been, is no longer you. Wellness behavior happens over a lifetime, but the wellness shift happens in one second. Don’t hesitate any longer because you think it will take too long… it happens the moment you say, “I am!”