Make the Changes You Desire
Are you willing to do what it takes to have what you want? We all have hopes and dreams – things that we would like to see happen in our lives or outcomes that we believe would make us happy. The kicker is that to get from here to there, you have to be willing to transform. Change always brings with it some level of anxiety and uncertainty because you have to stretch beyond your comfort zone.
A few years ago I did just that by tackling three things that terrified me, that I didn’t believe I could do, and that I really wanted to make happen. I decided that I would quit smoking, jump out of an airplane, and complete a marathon in one short year. Three things on my bucket list that were achievable if only I could make the necessary changes to my life and push myself outside of my comfort zone.
Here’s what I learned:
Quitting smoking is like any long term change that you desire to make in your life where there is no finish line – there is no end point to work toward. Another example of a lifelong goal would be deciding that you want to create a permanent change in your diet.
The key to a change that you want to last forever is that you have to build a framework for success. You can’t just psych yourself out or muscle through it. You have to address your underlying beliefs and feelings about it. You have to identify why the change matters to you.
Then you have to make a 100% commitment to your desired result. You have to put both feet in because if you leave any room to bend the rule, you have already mentally defeated yourself by allowing the possibility not to follow through. 100% commitment is so much easier than a 99% commitment.
Jumping out of an airplane, on the other hand, is a short term blast into fear. You have to summon the courage to take each step forward, but once the step is made, there is a relief. You summon the courage to schedule the appointment, you get yourself to the airplane hangar, and then will yourself onto the plane.
Once you’re on the airplane and strapped to some dude on your back, all that is left to do is to waddle to the door awkwardly and 1, 2 and… the decision is made. Now you’re just left to roll with the consequences. There’s no turning back.
With this type of change, you can find the mental willpower to overcome the fear and push through. This type of goal is akin to summoning the courage to ask to ask someone out on a date. Once you push through, you can’t unsay those words any more than you can climb back into that airplane once you’re hurtling to the earth. The rush is short lived, but the potential for lifelong transformation is great.
Finally, there is the marathon, which is the ultimate analogy for grinding your way through a process to get to the finish line or your desired outcome. It requires thousands and thousands of steps along the way. Each one makes you a little stronger and a little more confident, but you have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.
This type of change is also like writing a book or tackling any monstrous project that feels overwhelming at the start. With this type of change, you have to create a structure in your life to devote yourself to the completion of the project. You have to carve out the time to commit to your goal every day. You have to be willing to slog through even when it doesn’t feel good.
This long-term goal requires physical stamina and the willingness to push through to the finish line. You can go hard because there is an end in sight. Pour yourself completely into it and challenge yourself to go for the big prize. Just remember, you will never get to the finish without lacing up your new running shoes.
What is on your bucket list? What change do you want to make? If you want to make a permanent change to your lifestyle, then be sure to tune in and understand why you want this for yourself. If you want to take a short blast into something scary, then use your willpower to conquer your fear and reap the rewards. If you want to tackle a challenging long term project, create time in your schedule and just start with the first step.
Whatever you choose – remember that you cannot get from where you are to where you want to be without stretching yourself outside your comfort zone. To make changes, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. As you stretch yourself, your boundaries get pushed out giving you greater and greater space to create the life of your dreams. Go for it!