Go Small

I spent a lot of time in my youth sitting in cold church basements, sipping coffee out of styrofoam cups and listening to adults, young and old, share stories about the daunting task of trying to change themselves. In many way there was a common goal that linked these people together, but despite the unifying thread, no two stories were ever the same, still the the response to each struggle was:

Time after time, I would hear responses such as these:

"just keep showing up"

"keep it simple"

"easy does it"

"one day at a time"

"expect miracles"

"it works if you work it"

"it takes time"

"pass it on"

The repetition never struck me as strange. The simple response to complex heartache never seemed insignificant. It just felt like I was in the presence of strength and support. 

As I reflect on the time I spent quietly listening to these stories, I realize that this time shaped me and who I would become as an adult and the work I would do.  It's comical to think that the most time I have ever spent being silent, was in these church halls, listening, when the message wasn't truly intended for me - still it impacted me, in ways it became a part of me. That is what happens when you listen, and you're silent and still. Information lands on you, and you don't have to figure out what to do with it, because you're simply meant to receive it. And when you hear the message again and again, it just becomes a part of you. 

This time of year I wish I had a super power to protect people from the messages that are forced upon them: leaving them to feel that all they have done in December is bad, that now they must pay for it and even worse, that they simply are not a good enough version of themselves and something drastic must be done.

As an educator in the fitness industry I find myself overwhelmed by the task of debunking the idea that you should feel guilty for celebrating and treating yourself, while supporting the concept that whatever you do, you must undo because the truth to all of this lies in a shade of grey, that I have yet to find a simple way to clarify. 

At this time of year, I feel helpless as I witness so many beautiful, good intentioned people convincing themselves that they must change and becoming overwhelmed themselves with the daunting task of trying to change.

I was uninspired, until I remembered the message unknowingly embedded in me as a child. 

If you’re looking to change something about yourself, it takes work. 

Some days it’s hard work, and some days the work comes easy. 

Some days it will feel like you don’t have to do the work, that’s when you need to do it the most. 

There is no magic answer or quick fix to lasting change. It requires patience, persistence and perseverance. 

But if you want the change, it is worth taking the time to put in the work. 

No matter the problem or the desired change, the response is the same, and you must consistently receive the same message, over and over again to stay the course, and once you feel like you’ve arrived. You should keep showing up. 

There will be influences everywhere. There will be misleading signs. There will be moments of great strength and accomplishment. There will be moments of struggle and frustration. 

This is why you should seek out support. You should lean on others to remind you of why you started. You should seek out people and places that provide you with good, trustworthy information, so you know where to turn when outside influences and sneaky internal influences are overwhelming. 

You do not need to be fixed. But if you want to change,  it can be done. 

"just keep showing up"

"keep it simple"

"easy does it"

"one day at a time"

"expect miracles"

"it works if you work it"

"it takes time"

Take a small measurable action today, give yourself permission to be happy with what you've done today, and to commit to do the same tomorrow. Allow yourself to go small in the direction of big goals - because it does in fact, take time....but I can also promise that after a while it doesn't feel like work...it just feels like life. 

You are meant to enjoy your life.

Your health and wellness demand prioritizing.

No matter the season.

When outside influences creep in and make you feel small, remind yourself of this commitment to go small and keep showing up...one day at a time. 

 

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