The other day, I was able to sneak out by myself for a run, which is a rare and wonderful experience these days! I am one of those people who is a creature of habit by nature, thus I usually have just a few running routes I stick to. I don’t mind doing the same runs week after week. I love switching it up occasionally and finding new places to explore, however that requires more time, effort and planning than I am willing to give most days.
On this particular day, I set out down the road in the same direction and onto the same route I’ve done many times before. However on this day, for whatever reason, I suddenly realized that I was running on the opposite side of the street than I normally run on. I’m not sure why or how this happened, (I often get lost in thought when I am running alone), but I immediately began noticing a change.
It was the same exact route I had run through time after time, yet this slight change of switching sides made it seem like I was running in a new place. I noticed houses and yards I had not “seen” before, there were different cracks and curbs to navigate, different yards and landscapes to see; it truly felt like I was running in a new place!
As I continued on, I thought about all the differences I was noticing and aware of. I began to mull through these thoughts, and it got me thinking about how incorporating such a slight change made such a BIG impact.
A Single Step
Many people I have spoken to about their various health concerns, have one thing in common. Most will say that they “know” they should eat healthier or avoid certain food groups. They state that when they do, they feel so much better. Nonetheless the lure of resuming their old eating habits eventually takes over, and they give in. With that change brings about the return of their symptoms. The cycle continues.
For my particular journey of healing and due to the diseased state of my body I had gotten to, I chose an all or nothing approach. I went cold turkey, and from one day to the next I completely transformed my dietary choices and never once looked back or “cheated.”
In fact, this month (October) marks 10 years since I have eaten a bite of chocolate!
While this method may work for some, I realize that it is simply not feasible or necessary for others. Completely embracing a lifestyle or dietary change overnight may seem like such a daunting and unattainable task, that one may simply choose to not do anything at all!
The fear of change seems far worse than continuing to live with the presenting symptoms that have become a part of life.
Don’t let this be your situation! Remember that every journey begins with a single step, or making one simple change. Just like choosing to run on the other side of the road brought about a new experience for me, so can implementing a simple change have a significant impact in your life.
It’s easier than you may think. Choose one area that you are willing to work on and start tomorrow!
Add an extra side of vegetables to your meal rather than a more unhealthy choice. Switch out a sugary snack for some fruit instead. Substitute an unhealthy fat you may be accustomed to using in your kitchen such as a vegetable oil, to a healthier option such as coconut oil, olive oil, or pasture butter/ghee. Serve crisp veggie sticks with dip rather than chips.
These are only a few options, and it really doesn’t matter where you start incorporating change, as long as you take that first step and start.
Focus on the Outcome
More people than not have said to me over the years that they could never imagine embracing the lifestyle I have chosen to follow. That it is not worth it, having to “miss out” on so many foods and even the convenience factor of being able to eat anything you want, wherever you want. My response almost always goes back to perspective. What you choose to focus on makes all the difference.
There’s a reason why vision boards are proven as an effective tool in accomplishing a goal. It keeps the focus on the “prize” or the end result, even when the road becomes rough.
When you are contemplating making a change, if you focus more on the things you will have to “give up,” the task will seem that much more difficult and unattainable. However, if you focus on the outcome for which you are striving, which for me is my health, then the path suddenly appears possible and even attainable.
Don’t get me wrong, change is hard no matter how you approach it. Completely transforming my diet and lifestyle was probably the most difficult undertaking I have embraced (prior to becoming a parent). Yet the thing that kept me motivated was the outcome I knew I could achieve by sticking to those changes. Once I reached a place of healing, I felt so good that the temptations of going back to my unhealthy eating habits, faded away.
Besides, who ever said eating “healthy” can’t be flavorful or fun!
What is it that you are struggling with most when it comes to embracing a change in your lifestyle? Are you more focused on the things you will gain, or the things you will have to give up? Spend some time thinking about what it is that is keeping you from making a change, and then let it go. Take the first step, start incorporating a needed change and get your journey started to a healthier YOU!
I would love to hear from you about where you are in your journey of healing and what may be holding you back from fully embracing the needed change in your life!