Change, whether big or small, is unnerving. Often, the thought of doing something completely off the beaten path is frightening because we fear it will generate disorder, confusion, and instability, like an erupting volcano that scatters debris everywhere, but, as we have all heard at one time or another: fear is temporary, regret is forever. Although we may be afraid to confront change, it’s coming one way or another, and it is in our hands to form it so that it is good for us.
Let us look at change from a natural perspective–the change from winter to spring when death and barrenness are replaced by life and beauty. I witnessed this change while daily washing dishes in my kitchen sink. Day after day, I was disheartened to see the lifeless Crapemyrtle trees in my backyard that my father and I pruned during autumn. I peered at them, hoping to see a sign of growth, feeling like it was going to take forever. Then a few days ago, unexpectedly, I noticed new branches bursting forth with vibrant leaves. When did THAT happen? The change was occurring in front of my eyes but I did not notice it until after it was clearly apparent, and now I am filled with expectations of colorful blossoms lighting up my backyard as I look out my kitchen window.
Making decisions to change doesn’t result in immediate results. We don’t reap its benefits instantly. Like the Crapemyrtle trees, change occurs so gradually it is not apparent until its development is advanced. We naturally have doubts about a good outcome. We live in a world where if we don’t see it, we cannot believe it. However, we must have faith that our efforts are producing change even though we do not yet see the results.
Changes such as reversing our mode of behavior in a relationship, redirecting our career, exercising more intensely, adhering to a healthier lifestyle, or altering our self-perception take time, but within that time, the “unseen change” is brewing, developing, and most often, improving other areas of our life. The process of an authentic and beneficial change is not analogous to ordering food at a drive-thru; it is more like the fermentation of good wine.
We create change by having the courage to embark on it, continually concentrating on fulfilling it, and trusting in the outcome. Then, like the Crapemyrtle trees, we will awake to a brand new day in our life, full of hope and new visions.
Recently, I decided to adhere to working out five days a week at a local gym. Reserving the days in the calendar was easy, but the workouts were physically and mentally agonizing. My muscles woke-up from a coma since my college days, and the weight lifting in a male dominant facility was very intimidating. I did not have the strength or the stamina to keep up with those around me.
After a few days, I didn’t see any results, nor did I feel my endurance increase, but I knew something unbeknownst to me was happening. After two months, this decision resulted in me shedding twenty pounds, sleeping better, and having more self-confidence. Friends commented on my improved appearance, clothes fit better, and I have more stamina. I have become dedicated to working out five days a week without fail, unable to miss a day. I strut in the weight lifting section of the gym like it’s my domain and lift weights and do cardio exercises comparable to the gym rats around me. I never imagined I would become naturally “addicted” to working out five days a week at the gym.
Our desire for change must be strong, and with Lao Tzu, we must realize that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” We start with the conviction and courage to begin the change, proceed with the persistence to fulfill the change, maintain a positive perspective, and enjoy the positive results. As human beings, we must fight complacency and, as the spiritual hymn proclaims, “keep our eye on the prize.”
When it feels scary to jump, THAT’S the time to jump. Otherwise, we are staying in the same, unsatisfying and unhappy place. Nothing changes if nothing changes.
I encourage you to embark on change towards self-discovery and self-love. Whether you adhere to journaling or mediation, ponder on these ways to take that leap towards change.
Journal Prompts for Change & Self-Discovery
- What do I need more of in my life?
- What do I need to let go of? (Fears, toxic energy & relationships)
- What are some of the limiting beliefs that might be holding me back?
- What are 10 things I am grateful for today?
- What are 10 positive things about my life? (Things I absolutely love about my life)
- What are 5 ways that I can go out of my comfort zone this year?
- What are 7 things I am really good at?
- If money wasn’t an issue, what would my ideal life be? (Where would I live, what would my career be, what would my family look like)
- What motivates me to keep going?
- How would I describe myself to someone who has never met me before?
- What are 3 of my life’s passions? (things that set my soul on fire)
- Where is my favorite place to go?
- Who is my biggest inspiration and why?
- Where will I be in 5 years?
- What does my ideal day look like?
- What unhealthy habits do I need to cut out?
- What do I love most about myself? (5 things, at least)
- What is something I’ve been wanting to do but have been too afraid to try? (Why am I afraid?)
- What are my top 3 goals for this year and how can I achieve them?
- What do I struggle with the most?
- What are 5 words that describe me best and why?
- How can I add happiness to my daily life?
- What do I need to forgive myself for?
- What does success mean to me?
- How can I show myself more love?
- What am I going to achieve next month?
- What negative mindsets do I need to let go of?
- Write out 50 things that make me smile.
- What would I do if I knew I could not fail?
- What are the 100 qualities I’m looking for in a life partner? (for the single peeps!)
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