Trying one new thing at a time

BY CHARLES EURYDICE GRAY

In my ongoing quest for a healthier and happier life, I have lived by the motto of trying one new thing at a time and sticking with it until it becomes habit.

Some of these new things have been daunting like the first day I stepped into an hour-long spin class. Others have been quite small like when I challenged myself to make white bread a treat and whole grain breads the norm. Every new challenge has been successful in its own way. I now prefer whole grains to white breads…especially since they power me to consider 90-minute spin classes.

It might not feel as if you are gaining much ground when you begin. Believe me, the six months of constant focus it took me to beat my addiction to sugar soda seemed like interminable gridlock.

But the power of only one change, truly integrated into your life, is a dynamo that shouldn’t be underestimated. You will be surprised by the confidence and spunk that achieving just one goal will instill…and how it will spur you to take on the next.

You will also be very well pleased to look back in months or years and realize how the accumulation of healthy behaviors – begun with one little change – have worked together to make your life what you want it to be.

Success breeds success and support systems. When you are pursuing a new challenge, it often takes you out of your routine and route. You might join a group exercise class where you will meet folks who could become friends as well as sources of advice and inspiration. You might decide to study up on nutrition or growing your own vegetable garden and expand your community of like-minded pals along with your knowledge base. Though we often face challenges by ourselves in many ways, it is our connection to others that helps us to be strong in the alone times. Knowing that someone else is working toward the same goal, ready to join you in the pursuit, or just anxious to hear how you are doing can give you the strength to stay the course when the sirens’ song would tempt you toward the rocks.

One of the biggest rewards of making one change followed by another is in their cumulative power. There isn’t even a need to plan. No matter the changes you decide to undertake, they will combine in surprising and beautiful ways to make you stronger physically and emotionally. Once the changes begin to mount, the speed of your successes will also accelerate. Last week I was in a workout class that was finding all my physical weaknesses and making me push beyond my current abilities. When the order came to, “Jog it out,” I felt a flood of relief to be back in my comfort zone of jogging. As I stepped along, my mind realized that exactly one year ago I was struggling at my outer limits just to jog 15 to 30 seconds at a time. And now, here I was actually feeling as if it was recuperative to run for a few minutes. Now that is cumulative power and real change.

So what would you like to change? It doesn’t need to be big. It should only be one thing. Just pick one action that will by itself make a positive impact on your life. Pick it today and see it through. It will be so exciting to see where that change – followed by others – will lead you.

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