Monday, February 13, 2017

Chapter 7 - The Difficulties of Change





The Difficulties of Change. 



It’s hard enough to change when you want to.  It can be quite difficult to change because conditions have forced you to change.  Having made these statements, I realize that I’m speaking for myself. 

I suffer resistance to change, and I suffer resentment to being forced to do something.  However, no amount of resistance or resentment was going to make one bit of difference.   I found it necessary to let these things go.  How?  I don’t know exactly the steps I took.  I do remember doing a 180 exercise, where I forced myself to consider the idea that lymphedema came into my life as a good thing.  I also remember paying attention to others who had overcome far greater difficulties in their lives.  I certainly came to the point where I recognized negative emotions as being something I could dwell on but a far better choice was to overcome them. 

I could be accepting and encouraging.  I could have a wonderful life.


“There was only so much I could do in managing the physical aspects of lymphedema, but my attitude was mine to harness.  I created an environment where change was possible.” 



Deciding what your goals should be is a tricky bit of business.  Sometimes it isn’t exactly clear what the problem is.  I’ve been known to consider problems as being too simple, and also as too complex.  Eg. I weigh too much because I eat too much. 

This is too simple because disordered eating is multi-layered.  There can be a lack of awareness, bad habits, poor responses to stressors  and even wrong thinking.  The statement of my problem is not helpful. 

However, I weigh too much and I need years of therapy to uncover the roots of my problems is too complex.  It’s also a big fat excuse.  Again, this isn’t helpful. 

It is far more helpful to contemplate one healthy change and implement that.  How?  Action plans. 

1st. Define the positive change you want to make. 

2nd. Begin the action planning.  Remember that the action plan is to make a step towards those huge long-term goals.  One step that you will take immediately. 

The action plan is a simple tool, but it is a powerful one.  As the name implies it involves a plan and invites action.  I forced myself to use this tool because I really only had given it lip service before.  I’m quite good at going ‘yeah, yeah, I get it’ but never actually doing the ‘thing’.  Not helpful at all. Remember that action plans begin with goals, but add in the accountability factor. 


Action plans in my life  


I found that it is important to make my goals achievable and to build on that success.  Further in this document I share some words about getting back on track because everyone will slip off the chosen path.  I soon found that I had to think of those slips as containing valuable information that I could use for another attempt.  Forgiveness and encouragement were essential.  Also I had to challenge the ideas that held me back, and rethink my approach to deep rooted habits and problems.

What is the best I can do today? I would ask and no matter how feeble the answer, that was good enough for that day.  I knew that I could build on successes, if I didn’t focus on my failures.    

I needed to challenge the ideas that held me back – this is the perspective piece that helped. 

I read books about motivation, habit forming, optimism, procrastination fighting, as well as inspirational stories of people who overcame challenges, etc.  I found things that work for me.  I could list them, they may help you, but individuals are unique and my answers might not be yours.  This isn’t easy and it probably doesn’t serve anyone to be spoon fed someone else’s answers. 

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