Effortless change

Life is a continuous movement in between stability and change. Nothing can stand still because it wouldn’t be really living, and paradoxically, no one can thrive in life unless certain stability is achieved. So how do we keep the balance between living fully and changing constantly?

I would say by dealing with change the best we can and making the process as entertaining as possible. Effortless change doesn’t mean struggle-free. It only means free from the typical overwhelming feeling that usually comes with it.

As creatures of habit, allow me to remind you that the best habit you can add to your personal toolbox is the habit of change. Yes, you read it right, I honestly think we can train ourselves to deal with change on a daily basis.

Bear with me through the following simple example

When we first got Robinson (our Bernese Mountain Dog) I had to change my habits and get used to the idea of walking him everyday for 1-2h regardless the weather, and that was -still is- quite a challenge for me to face on a daily basis.

I know, walking a dog is not as challenging as moving out of your comfort zone, changing job, dealing with new diet requirements, or anything like you are probably going through right now. But this example will allow me to introduce you to the simple concepts behind effortless change, and the further development of it as a new habit of yours.

If you happen to be as impatient as I am, I suggest you work in weeks. But science suggests that in order for a change to stick and further develop into a habit 21 consecutive days should pass by.

So here’s how I did it.

I first introduced literally small steps: The first week we just walked around our block. The second one we went for two blocks and back, and so on. Until we reached our required 1.5-2h daily walk not only without struggle but growing enjoyment out of it.

Master it: Once you have reached the ‘habit’ status -remember the 21 days?- you can begin to build it up further. This means that you could try to add up another literally small step into the new routine: Following up on the dog example I added basic commands, even short training sessions.

And when resistance comes up -because it will- simply work your way around it by making it the easiest and most comfortable possible. For instance, to get over my reluctance to walk under ‘Dutch weather’ I make myself completely waterproof: put on rainy-day clothes, wear long socks, waterproof booties, even ear warmers if necessary to stand the cold. I sometimes opt for quick and short walks several times a day, headphones with my favorite tunes or even nature sounds to foster relaxation to elude weather inconveniences. Yes, I know it is probably too much, but that has done the trick for me. What are your tricks?

Remember: Whenever you need to change something, all you have to do is to take one-really small- step at a time, adjust and master it, and last, but not least, work your way around resistance.

Rebeca GM

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