During tough economic times, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut, settling for a life that isn’t what we really want. Exhausted by stress, the irresistible “path of least resistance” lures us away from changing because we don’t have the energy, time, money,etc. Continuing to resist change, we further erode our happiness and set a course for imbalance and disease. Change is a vital element of ANY natural system working to keep it vibrant and alive. While humans are a part of nature, we often experience a psychological speed bump when it comes to change. Opening the door to the unknown can make us feel vulnerable and scared so we avoid it and unknowingly limit our potential for life. During unstable times, the risk of the unfamiliar can feel even more daunting. However, if our resistance is left unchecked and we continue living stressed out, less than happy lifestyles, we set ourselves up for even more instability in the long run as our health will eventually be compromised. This is a high price to pay.
Courageously moving toward change opens our world to infinite possibilities. You can have the life your heart desires! However, adopting a balanced approach is vital if you want the change to stick. Regardless of whether the transformation is happening on a personal or organizational level, change works best in smaller, manageable increments. Through my school change research, I have seen educators become so elated by the psychological high of “progress” that they become “change happy” and overzealously initiate new program after new program without proper structures in place to sustain them over time. Without suitable energy to support them, the programs eventually fail (Carson, 2007). Further, biting off more than you can chew and radically changing too much at once can create shock and overwhelm leading to failure. Sustaining positive, lasting change takes time and energy. If we want changes to last, the tools we choose must be effective and affordable over the long haul.
According to Business Week (2008), American’s spend approximately 40 billion a year on weight loss programs and products only to find their wallets lighter. In 2009, the US spent $171, 826 million on foods and beverages marketed as being beneficial to health and wellness (Health and Wellness, 2009). Hoping for a magic bullet, wonder cure makes us financially and even physically vulnerable. Now more than ever, it is important that buyers beware and invest their money wisely. Wellness is not bought, it is learned! Letting go of our mental resistances and opening to new possibilities creates space for learning a new lifestyle and creating transformations that last.
When we move beyond fear, change can be fun and exciting, but there are no magic pills or potions. We may wish for a fairy godmother to speed our transformations, but they are hard to come by. These days, a good wellness coach is a better investment. Here are my 4 steps to learning a new healthier, happier lifestyle.
Step 1: Awakening to the need for change. Many of us get so caught up in the stress of daily life that we are unaware of what we are doing to our bodies. Once we become aware of the need for change, we realize that the old ways have not worked so we must try something new. Mentally, we set the intention of committing to doing the work and moving beyond our current “dis-comfort zone”. Our minds open to the possibility of a better life where we feel happier, healthier and freer to do the things we want to do.
Step 2: Unhooking from bad habits and negativity. Fad diets and trendy wellness programs fail because they don’t get to the root of the problem-our minds. The thoughts we think have an impact on our bodies. Becoming mindful of our thoughts is vital to taking control of our lives. Negative self-talk creates more imbalances in our bodies making us feel even worse. We are often unaware of these thoughts as well as false beliefs from childhood (not good enough, can’t do it right, etc.) that sabotage our happiness. Wellness coaches can help identify negative thought patterns and teach us strategies for unhooking.
Step 3: Re-learning healthier strategies. When we realize that we don’t have the bodies, energy level, happiness, etc. that we want, it is obvious that the tools we used to fashion our lifestyle failed. It is time for a new set. A wellness coach helps streamline the learning process getting us the results we want faster. These new tools may include: different approaches to diet and exercise, stress management, relaxation, yoga, meditation and many more.
Step 4: Applying the learning daily. This is where we start to see results. The more we are committed to applying new wellness skills and strategies daily the greater our success. Staying positive and motivated is vital. Surround yourself with positive people who support your new lifestyle. Victory is at hand!
If you are awakening to the need for change, I am here to help you. As a wellness coach, my clients range from men and women who struggle with chronic, often debilitating illnesses like Chronic fatigue syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and Multiple chemical sensitivity (environmental illness) to overall healthy people who simply want to reduce stress and live a healthier, happier life. Sessions are available via Skype or in person in Tucson. Email me now to kick start your personal evolution revolution.
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Carson, J (2007). The Ecology of School Change. Published dissertation, University of Arizona.