Change is never, ever, ever, EVER easy.
In my limited experience I’d say it’s the hardest thing a human has to do, whether it’s willingly or not. We are creatures of habit; sheep, in a way. We like being comfortable and having things at the tips of our fingers. We work and strive for these things all our lives, ruining our bodies and grinding down our spirits to make sure we, and future generations, have ample enough to be happy.
Go to school to get a job.
Go to the job to get the moneys.
Go to the store to spend the moneys.
Save moneys if you can.
Okay good. So I’ve discovered the purpose of life. To be sheep! Beeeeeh!! Beh!
Weeeeelllllll what if you don’t want to be sheep? Yes being able to provide for yourself and your family is an amazing thing and you should feel proud you stuck with it. A lot of people don’t, choosing selfishness over responsibility. BUT. Where are you in all this? I asked myself that a lot over the last decade. It wasn’t until recently that I was able to really pursue it though. I finally had enough of being a sheep. So this is a rough draft of the process I used to help plan my course of action.
The first step is recognizing you don’t ONLY want to be a sheep.
The second and immediate step to take after that is to STOP the guilt from getting the better of you.
You deserve to be a person in the midst of your survival. You may not be able to be the multi-million dollar karate master movie star of your dreams but you can certainly say, collect memorabilia or take lessons at a dojo. Simple, small pleasures that make you feel different from the monkey pressing the same red button everyday for eight hours. And remember, DON’T let yourself feel guilty! All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. You earned this!
Step three is, after you start to feel a bit better about yourself, to identify the thing you want to change the most. Write down only ONE THING, usually the first thing that comes to mind. Do you want to lose weight and be healthier? Do you want to stop being such a judgmental person? Do you want to get a better job that requires more schooling?
Step four is to make a list of things you can do to possibly help change that goal. Break it down. Buy less fast food. Pay people more compliments. Start looking at online schooling. Start eating whole grain bread. Give money to a homeless person. Ask a banker about school loans.
Now I want you to take that list and find the simplest, easiest possible thing you wrote down. Circle it in your favorite color marker. That’s your starting point. Go out and buy your bread. Tell your cashier at the check out line how pretty her make up is that day. Look up classes at your local college. Also, make yourself a list of little rewards alongside your circle that you can pick from when you succeed. Don’t want to be a dull Jack right? We’re working to step AWAY from this mentality!
Some goals may need to be sustained through a monthly cycle. Psychologists say it takes at least six weeks to break a habit so if you’re going for something like a healthier life style or a personality change, you’ll need to make a small goal you can reach for that as well. Mine was “weekly but for two whole months” that way the amount of time was sectioned into smaller bite-sized chunks. Now if I happened to fall off the wagon, it was only one day of one week. Easy to get back on!
(Also, give yourself some slack if shit happens, like the flu or you lose your job or you’re having marital trouble. A person can only take on so much. Just don’t make it an excuse not to try to get back to it. Be your own self-moderator!)
Step five: make a simple chart or calendar to keep track of your daily successes/slip ups. It can be different colored dots on a every day calendar or brightly colored stickers on a special monthly calendar you bought especially for this change. Give yourself a pat on the back and a small reward for reaching your goal.
Step six: after you’ve completed your new mini goal, add another small thing from your list on top of it. Buy whole grain bread AND 2% milk. Pay compliments AND show one act of kindness every week. Register for enrollment at the local college AND make an appointment to see a school counselor.
Change, in order for it to become natural and permanent, needs to be SLOW. It’s frustrating as hell, I know. It will never go fast enough for us because humans like having comfort and ease at their fingertips. We’re the Instant Gratification Species. You need to not lose sight of Why you’re doing the change in the first place though. There was something fundamentally off about you (so you think) that you didn’t like so you’re trying to change it. Long term sustainability is the goal here, which is why most diets and fads don’t work.
For sheep, it’s hard to sprint for long distances. That’s exhausting on many levels! However–
–that’s Step seven. DON’T lose sight of your WHY.
“The greatest injustice a human can do to himself is to walk down a path he chose, forget why he is walking it but continue to walk it anyway.” ~
(I think that’s a Paulo Coelho quote. I read it somewhere recently and I’m sure I got the wording wrong but I can’t find the exact quote anywhere. Paulo has a LOOOOOOOOT of quotes X_X)
So there it is. My game changing plan. I wrote this because I was going to relate it back to writing somehow but I realized I didn’t need to. It already had.
This method of action for me is the reason why I’ve been writing so much. It’s one of my mini goals, to write a blog entry a day; a result that I’m proud to say is from the seven step program I figured out–ON MY OWN!! No self-help book needed! And if you knew my scatter-brain with any sort of intimacy, you’d be applauding right now. Seriously, it’s like a hummingbird in spring flitting from flower to flower. Frenetic and brightly colored Chaos.
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