What is it about the changing of the year that makes us want to change? I haven’t encountered a person yet that doesn’t at least THINK about making changes every year. Each year we all want to do better, be better. It’s something isn’t it?
Couple that phenomenon with the reality that most of us don’t change and you’ve got a real conundrum on your hands. Most of us are doing what we did, eating what we ate, reacting the way reacted last year. We have all this opportunity, all these chances to change and we don’t. We don’t make lasting change.
Why is it so hard?
What does it really take?
Maybe it is because change is often gradual. Especially MEANINGFUL change. I watched The Biggest Loser finale and found it fascinating to see the contestants drop SO MUCH weight. THAT was a noticeable change … you can’t really let go of more than a hundred lbs and not see a difference. But what I realized was, if you lived with them day to day, you wouldn’t notice them changing. And how did they lose all that weight? One ounce at a time. No one notices a one ounce change.
When I coach people, I make a point of letting them know it is usually the littlest changes that make the biggest differences. These changes are hardly noticeable day-to-day - a smile instead of a eye-roll at a co-worker, listening more intently during a conversation, arriving at a meeting a few minutes early instead of a few minutes late. Added up, over time, they make a huge impact but day-to-day? No one sees it. And it’s hard to change when no one is noticing.
We’re impatient. We want change. Right now. Two minutes ago, actually.
And when we don’t get it, we become discouraged. And discouragement is a hop, skip and a ____ from defeat.
Today I was studying my eyebrows in the mirror. They are growing back. And they are making HUGE strides. Unlike the changes I mentioned above, these buggers are making noticeable difference EVERY DAY. I’m not kidding. I can see a difference each morning when I look in the mirror. They are emerging. And it is SO EXCITING. It’s FUN to see change. It builds up excitement and motivates. I stood there this morning and began wondering why these brows are growing back so fast. As I was thinking I reached down and dug out my multi-vitamin and took it. Why? Because I read somewhere that hair grows faster when you have a healthy balance of minerals and vitamins in your body. See what I’m getting at? The evidence of change motivated me toward an action that would produce more change.
Change begets change. It is easy to take a vitamin when you see growth. Unfortunately, most change doesn’t happen that fast.
It’s more like watching a tree grow
Or an iceberg melt
Or the Colorado river carve out the Grand Canyon.
I’ve tried and tried to work it any other way but the truth is the only way to make lasting change is daily intention toward that future goal. Meaning I have to do something EVERY DAY that moves me in some way closer to my goal point. I’ve tried to make change with weekly intention, monthly intention, every-so-often intention and it never works.
I have to take my vitamin every day if I want my eyebrows to grow.
I have to listen longer every day if I want a stronger relationship.
I have to write something every day if I want to be a better writer.
You may argue with me on this point but (after I listen really well) I’m sticking to my guns.
So to wrap it up,
I’ve found the only way to make lasting meaningful change is DAILY INTENTION toward a future goal
Daily intention is often a “ONE OUNCE” CHANGE – something no one else, even you sometimes, will notice
You’ve got to come up with something to MARK THOSE ONE OUNCE CHANGES until you get to your own finale or you’ll never get there at all.
It’s not like growing eyebrows.