Dr. Laurie looks at whether the idea of a difficult change makes it even more difficult.
Those of you who read this column regularly know that I think and write a lot about change. How to change attitudes and habits, and mental styles is the core of my work and research. I'll confess -- most of the time I view change as something hard to achieve, requiring intention and practice.
But last week I was working on a presentation for a workshop with a colleague. She was going over her part, which was some research on changing your learning style, and I thought that she was taking the work involved with this a bit lightly.
She responded to me, "Laurie, not all change is hard. Some of it just happens when you're ready."
This took me aback. I have been thinking about it, and "trying on" her challenge ever since.
Indeed, she is right. Not all change is hard. Sometimes we slide into our new role, or shift a pattern without much effort. We are able to do a new thing and be different like shedding a skin, or waking up fresh and ready.
Can you recall such a change in your life?
Bringing an attitude that expects change to be hard insures that it will be. Being willing to play with our expectations makes some room for some things to be effortless.
A client of mine chose to give up soda. She felt she was almost "addicted," and drank several large bottles a day. When she looked at her health, she decided that changing from soda to water would be challenging, but possible. When we checked in a few weeks later to see how it was going, she said that it had been easy. She didn't crave soda, though it had been a mainstay of her work life to keep her going. Yet, in a matter of days she discovered she didn't even miss it.
Easy change. Almost unbelievable.
Another client chose to begin some exercise. He wasn't moving enough he told me. He crafted a plan that included power walking and joining a pick up soccer game in his neighborhood. He, too, found that this change was not complicated or hard to maintain.
What makes the difference? I'm not sure. But what I am discovering is that bringing an attitude that expects change to be hard insures that it will be. Being willing to play with our expectations makes some room for some things to be effortless.
Living with chronic illness is hard. It brings all kinds of challenges. That may lead to beginning to expect everything to be challenging.
Where might you look at one of your change challenges and think about it happening with ease? How might you move your expectations to allow some painless change in your life? As always. I'm glad to get reports of anything that is working for you!
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