The sun peeks through the blinds forcing my brain to crawl out from beneath its blanket of sleep. I groan. I used to be a morning person. Daylight– a fresh start– used to bring me joy. I would toss back the covers, jump from my bed ready to tackle a new day. Now, the coming sun brings a bit of dread.
The voice in my head yells, “It’s just exercise, Erin. Get your body out of bed! You are not a wimp.”
I roll from the bed and trudge to the shoes I set out by the door the night before. I slip them on, heave a sigh, and start out the door.
When I arrive at the pond, I start my jog –ok, jog might be a bit of an overstatement. It’s more than a walk, but not by much. I am certain a 2-year old could easily pass me and still pick every flower from the path. I am jogging around the pond when it hits me. Now I am the one wearing the change shoes, and I don’t like the way they are fitting.
I spend most of my days trying to convince people that change is good. Yes, it might be a bit hard, but it is worth it. Change your practice. Change your philosophy. Change. Change. Change. I stand up for them. I cheer them on as they do the hard work.
But now the change shoes are on my feet, and change doesn’t sound very attractive. Sleep sounds like a much better option than exercise and getting fit. Why is it important for me to be healthy? Who cares? I’m fine.
But you know what? Those are just excuses. Excuses to cover the fact that I am really just scared. Scared to fail. Scared to do the hard work of changing my beliefs, my practices, my habits.
As I huff and puff around the pond, I remind myself the answers to the question, “What makes change last?”
Starting slow. I can’t do it all in one fell swoop. If I want to change my behaviors and beliefs, I’ve got to start small and work my way up.
Extending myself grace when I slide and falter. I will not be perfect. I am not Mary Poppins-perfectly perfect in every way. (Man, wouldn’t that be nice?) I will not walk everyday. I will eat ice cream. But, I can move in the direction of making better choices instead of not being conscious about what I put in and do with my body.
Breathing deep when I’m overwhelmed, reminding myself it is worth it to work through the hard parts. These steps will also lead to lasting change. Change is hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it. But it is not easy. It will be hard. But it will be worth it.
Build a community of support. When you are in the middle of change, you can’t see the forest for the trees. You need eyes who are above and around you who can remind you of how far you have come and the progress you have made. People who remind you you are not alone. You can do this.
Change. Six little letters that when put together can make the grown-up cry and run for the hills, or at least pull the covers up over their heads. But change is not bad. It is possible. And together, we can do it!