I’ve discovered over the last couple of days that no matter how hard you try, change will never feel right until it’s over. Perhaps it’s just our nature. Perhaps it’s an evolutionary holdover from the days when leaving the tribe and striking out into the night was a good way to get eaten by a sabertooth tiger. Any way you slice it, change is scary and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Any change that you try to make in your life is going to scare the royal bejeezus out of you. I sat here this week contemplating some changes in my life that reminded me of the time when I first started thinking about my weight and health. I may have actually started doing something about it a year and a half ago but I’ve probably been concerned about it for 10 years. I was 240 and a half-a-pack-a-day smoker at the height of my unwellness. I knew it wasn’t sustainable and I knew I was probably digging my own grave but you know what? It took me another 10 years to actually do something about it because actually doing something is a helluva lot more disconcerting than living in the nice little rut you’ve dug for yourself. Some people have to hit an all time low, and then go lower, before they start to change things in their life. I just decided to start taking ownership for my actions. The change, in the end, didn’t ultimately come from a health decision but one of responsibility. I’m 36 damnit, time to be a grown up.
And may be that’s what you need to hear this morning. That change you’re contemplating in your life isn’t really about losing 20 pounds, or walking more, or getting a new job because the one you have now sucks dirt. It’s about you, and you alone, taking responsibility for yourself. So many of us are happy to live in a rut that society is happy to provide that we miss that one important element; personal responsibility. When we look at the person we admire for their charisma, or success, or cut abs; it isn’t any of those things we’re really respecting. It’s their ability to focus on a change and take responsibility for themselves in making it happen. They know that no one is going to do it for them, they need to do it for themselves despite what any one else might think or do or say. That one element has become such a rare thing in our society that it is celebrated and venerated.
Think about that for a minute.
Personal responsibility is the exception, not the rule.
How the hell did that happen?
So if you’re contemplating change this morning, there is only one simple rule. Yes, you need to plan. Yes, you may even need to research. Yes, you may even need to discuss it with someone. Once you’ve done all those things though, you just need to DO IT. No amount of research will prepare you for every eventuality, no amount of planning ever usually survives first contact with reality. Some amount of thinking it through should be performed but then you need to execute.
Otherwise, you’ll end up like me 10 years ago. Fat, out of breath, personally disgusted with yourself, and completely unwilling to take responsibility for your own actions. And yes today I still have a piece of chocolate fudge cake or some french fries with a meal some times. Totally non-Paleo. The difference now is that I take responsibility, say yes I am eating this right now, and move on afterwards. It’s not a habit, it’s an indulgence. And indulgences are okay as long as they don’t happen every day.
Make your plan if you must.
Ask your buddies at the pub their opinion if that works for you.
Then do it.
You can only contemplate change for so long before it actually needs to happen.