Hello friends and happy Saturday! This week's post is another excerpt from my book, Live Your Passion. The writing talks about how difficult, and often "strange" making positive change can be.
Change is Strange
One of the reasons that the Live Your Passion process is so effective is that it asks you to first look closely at yourself to get a clear picture of who you are and what you want out of life. This serves as a strong foundation for making choices consistent with your strengths, values and the mission you have defined for yourself. When approaching life from this perspective, you begin to look at life’s options differently. This shift may feel strange at first because it is not necessarily the way you have approached decision making in the past. It may also feel strange, perhaps even uncomfortable, if there are people in your life who do not understand, or who may disagree with — or feel threatened by — your new direction. Your positive change may feel uncomfortable for others as you begin to approach life differently.
Let’s consider Jane as an example. After working with the Live Your Passion process, Jane has a better understanding of the things she values most. She recognizes that education is an important value and it is time for her to take action. She starts taking night classes to work toward a degree in marketing, something Jane has discovered she has an aptitude for. As Jane begins the process, she realizes some of her old friends do not share her value of education; in fact, some have expressed that school is a waste of time and money. As she makes new choices about how she spends her time (attending night school and studying), she finds that some of her old friends are not as supportive as she had hoped and begin treating her differently. Jane starts to realize the importance of surrounding herself with people who support her choices, which means not spending time with some old friends. For Jane, this feels different. For Jane, “change is strange.” If you wish to make positive change, you must let go of negative forces that might pull you in the opposite direction. Change, even good change, really can feel strange!
Change may also feel strange when you attempt to let go of bad habits, or old behaviors that are comfortable, but not aligned with your values. Once again, my own life story offers an example. For years I had fooled myself into thinking it was okay to live a fairly sedentary lifestyle, eating basically what I pleased and continuing to gain weight. As a person with diabetes, I had listened for years as doctors told me the many risks associated with my weight, but none of their words seemed to sink in. I didn’t change my poor eating habits. I watched as my blood pressure and the number of prescriptions I was taking increased. When I tried to change, I had little success.
Eventually I thought about my life in a different way. When I looked closely at what I wanted from life and considered the many options available to me, I realized something, perhaps for the first time. I recognized that my good emotional and mental health were also dependent on, not independent of, my good physical health. And good physical health was high on my list of values. My supporting belief has always been that good health is a necessary part of enjoying many other important values, such as time playing with my grandson, riding a bicycle, hiking with my wife and the list goes on and on! I came to realize that while I knew all along that I valued good health, my behavior was supporting exactly the opposite. I acknowledged that there was a disconnect between what I valued and my behavior. My actions were not consistent with my values. Not surprisingly, once I recognized this, I was able to make an important shift in my behavior to support some of my most important values.
The result – good health and even more happiness! As I write this book, I have lost over 60lbs.! My Body Mass Index (BMI) has moved from 34.7 to 26.4 which is just about within the normal range. I feel amazing and have no health-related issues. My physicians tell me I am a model of what a person can do if they simply take their good health seriously and change some bad habits. My blood pressure is normal, and I no longer take any medications for hypertension. My cholesterol is low, and I no longer take any medications for that. I take 75 percent less insulin to control my type1 diabetes and my blood glucose levels are in the range of a non-diabetic most of the time! For years I had sleep apnea and went to bed wearing a mask that provided me with air to help me breathe while sleeping. I even had surgery to eliminate my sleep apnea, but that didn’t help. It was my taking responsibility for my own life that ultimately led to my no longer having sleep apnea. These days I sleep like a baby with no help from a machine.
My message – “change is strange” which is normal. It will feel strange, often difficult, to do things differently in your daily routine. Life becomes a series of habits. Habits are tough to change. But tough does not mean impossible. For me, tough often means well worth doing! See if it doesn’t mean that for you, too.
Until next time, be well........