Okay, I’m totally lying about the easy part; but, it sounds good, right?
Over the last few months, I’ve distilled this whole transition process down to a Five Step Verb Change:
- wish – I wish I could lose weight, etc.
- want – I want to find a better job, etc.
- will – I will get healthier, etc.
- am – I am exercising more, etc.
- did – I did accomplish my goal.
Those are the five distinct stages I’ve identified. Unconsciously, I had expected some sort of metaphysical valve to be there, allowing me to make progress up through the stages without sliding back down. How naive was that?! I mean, we all know that we regress. It’s even the second law of thermodynamics – the entropy of an isolated system never decreases, because isolated systems spontaneously evolve towards thermodynamic equilibrium—the state of maximum entropy. (Ha! And you thought chemistry would be useless!) To those of us who don’t speak chemistry on a daily basis, what that means is that left uninterrupted, things move from a state of order to a state of disorder. If we don’t act to at least hold our ground every day, we lose it. There is no such thing as maintaining a current state with no additional input.
If we cannot reasonably expect to even maintain a current state without expending additional energy, how on earth do we expect to improve it?
At my heaviest, parked on the couch, Ben & Jerry on my left, Chester Cheetah on my right, how did I expect things to get any better? I shouldn’t have; but, the bizarre truth is that I actually did on some level. I refused to believe that I was that fat or that unhealthy. I carried that belief with me right up until the nurse practitioner burst my bubble with a blood pressure reading. I’ve told you before, I’m not all that special. The laws of physics and chemistry apply to me. I had to act on my fat, unhealthy system to change it.
There were certainly five steps to improving my situation, but not a single one of them was or is easy. However, I didn’t have to tackle all five of them at once or even all one of them at once. I could and do deal with them a bit at a time: but, I have to deal with them or I have to admit that whatever goal is at the end of those five steps isn’t really worth it for me.
Either I decide that the goal is worth the battle or I decide that it’s not. In either case, the core requirement is self-honesty – as Polonius said, “To thine ownself be true.” (How about that? Shakespeare and chemistry all in one place!) Once I’ve done that, I can either put positive energy into achieving the goal or I can remove negative energy of guilt and stress associated with a goal that isn’t really mine.
In either case, I’m the better for it, regardless of whether or not the steps were easy.