When we expect massive change overnight without the willingness to take massive action, we are not a match to what we desire. The only way to get from A to B is to break it down in small steps.
I had the pleasure of doing some decade review recently, and brought out some old journals from 2009 and 2010. WOW! I highly recommend taking a peek at old journals, photographs, social media accounts, blogs, etc. especially as we close in on this decade. It’s imperative that we reflect on where we’ve been, how far we’ve come, and how it all came to be before moving on to the next thing.
Sometimes change is invisible to the naked eye, but when you zoom out and look at the big picture, you can see the changes better. Know that whatever you are working towards is working it’s way towards you, so long as you keep some momentum. Your persistence is your ticket. You don’t have to do it expertly, you don’t need perfect attendance. You are allowed to fail, backslide, and mess up. You just must promise yourself you will keep moving forward, even after you’ve gone backwards.
In my ten year old journals, I found statements like,
“Anything that produces a sense of well being or satisfaction deserves repeating.”
“I love myself. I forgive myself. I am enough exactly as I am.”
“I don’t know that teaching is for me. I really just want to write and make art.”
“Don’t take things personally. You never know what someone else is going through. It’s never about you.”
So, uh, it’s taken about ten years for most of this to really set in and I’m still reminding myself and writing about it, but in retrospect the changes, internal and external are massive.
Between the lines I was struggling to internalize these messages, but I knew they were important, and I knew I wanted to keep striving towards believing them and acting “as if.” Ten years ago, I was coming out the other side, but still struggling with learning to love myself. I was partying in excess and an expert at escapism, numbing, and avoidance. I did not fully understand my inherent worth, but I knew that I wanted to, and I knew that I was capable of feeling worthy. I was broke and stressed out.
I kept reading about self love, psychology, although at a slower rate than I do now since I was pretty busy maintaining my status as a regular at the bar. I kept reinforcing these ideas, and although at times it felt fruitless, something inside me kept trying. When progress is slow, it feels like nothing is happening, until you gain perspective and take the time to remember years ago, and you realize how far you’ve come.
If you’re reading this and you feel stagnant, like you haven’t seen the changes you want, it’s not too late! Persistence is your ticket! Even if you backslide for weeks or a month, or even a year, each tiny little step forward still counts.
Think about it like this: If you want to update your wardrobe, you don’t go and do it in a desperate hurry in one day. It takes time, a variety of moods, trial and error, and a budget to add special and quality pieces to your closet.
If you want to get in shape and lose twenty pounds, you don’t 1) exercise for a week and expect to reverse four months of take out and Netflix. It will take at least the same amount of time it took to put on the weight in the first place. Just because it will take a while doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile.
Big changes take time. When we try to overhaul too much too soon we get burnt out and give up. We are not disappointed by outcomes, but our own expectations. Maybe we don’t see any progress and we decide it’s not a match for us. This is the turning point. This is the point where it’s imperative you keep going, even though it feels like nothing is happening.
If you desire change, you have the power to make it happen. Change doesn’t have to be all sacrifice, no fun, and grueling effort. As long as you keep moving in the direction you want to go, you will get there. Often, it will take longer than you thought. Sometimes, though, it happens sooner than you feel ready. You’ll just have to keep going and see.
Abraham Hicks says that we don’t necessarily choose the fastest route to get what we want, but instead the most satisfying.
Oftentimes, the most satisfying road to get what we want is slower paced. We take two steps forward and one step back as we learn. We are a little lenient with ourselves, we grow, we learn, we make time to live and enjoy our lives, and we become more efficient over time and our pace gradually increases.
If you are looking to make big changes in this next decade, don’t wait until January, or keep telling yourself you’ll start on Monday. Start making small moves all the time. When you backslide, just forgive yourself and quickly as possible and dust yourself off and keep trying. That’s the secret. You don’t have to throw in the towel over a setback. Just keep moving forward, even if you just traveled half a mile backwards. Continuing to go backwards will only you get you further and further away from your goals. Start your research, your vision boards, make one call, take one class. Take easy action now and build momentum.
The point is, we make big strides over time when we take small action.
I realized I’ve made big strides internally when I got rear ended by another driver on my birthday, laughed about it (since it was their anniversary, too) and still went out to celebrate after.
My car was totaled and I felt excited to get a new car, plus a check in the mail.
In the past, this would have sent me into a frenzy of stress and scarcity, and maybe even victimhood. I would have been freaking out about taking out a loan for a car (but hey! I am lucky I can afford it and build my credit!) and the whole process.
Instead, I feel like this is the Universes way of giving me a great excuse and a down payment on a nicer car that is more suitable to some road trips I’ve been wanting to take.
When I’ve been the subject of gossip, I can let it roll off instead of questioning my worth.
I can share my creativity with others freely because I believe it has value.
Sometimes it takes ten years for certain lessons to set in.
Of course, there are days where I have to check myself, and obviously still have very human setbacks, but if you devote yourself to something and just keep at it, you can make amazing strides in months, years, and do a 180 in a decade. You can change your mind, you can change your body, you can change your life.
So as we close on this decade, try to find a few areas where you’ve made amazing strides. Maybe you can look back and see that the biggest progress happened extremely slowly.
Now think about this: Where do you want to go in the next decade? Even if it seems insurmountable or borderline impossible, what are the big strides you want to look back on in 2029 (!!!) Write them down. Fantasize. Just start. Just start moving in that direction. It might not feel like you are going anywhere, but remember that is how it felt before, too.