To create change is one of the most difficult things we attempt. Especially in the area of money; whether it be practical change, such as paying off debt, or internal change, like altering our thought patterns, it’s hardly ever as simple as adding a behavior to our daily routine. What I have discovered is that unless I connect the change to my higher truth or values–and make it a singular priority–my change does not last.
I recently started doing a new exercise regime called Kinesis. I had been doing low-impact cardio and Wii for quite some time and decided I needed to take it to the next level. When I say I am doing Kinesis, most people don’t know what that is. Basically, it’s a combo of resistance and strength training with some cardio and Pilates-yoga type exercises. It’s honestly quite the butt-kicker.
I’m 3 weeks into it now, and I enjoy the community of people I have met and am starting to see small improvements in my balance and muscle tone. I have that feeling of satisfaction afterwards, for a job well done. Still, it wasn’t easy getting out of bed this morning to go! What has helped me the most is giving myself permission to screw up almost everything else in my life while I integrate this new habit into my normal routine.
To Create Change, Shift Priorities
I decided that getting up to speed on Kinesis was going to take extra energy at first—energy that I might be using to clean my place, grocery shop, whatever. So I decided that for 6 weeks, I was going to be okay spending more on takeout, letting dishes pile up a little bit more and vacuuming a little bit less. Technically, exercising 3-4x per week shouldn’t prevent me from doing those things, but to make sure I fulfilled my commitment, I wanted to make Kinesis my number one priority, and make it as easy as possible to stay on track.
I’m calling this “sucking in service to my higher truth” because getting into a regular, weight-bearing, balance-building exercise routine in a community of people who will miss me if I don’t show up is part of a bigger vision for me–so I am willing to “suck” at other areas of my life to achieve that and to create change that will support this value. I want to get back to the Mindy who is naturally good at sports, who can try out new things “just because,” and who isn’t hampered by her broken ankle history (which is sort of a funny story in itself, here). If that means I have to let some other areas of my life fail in the short term, I am okay with that. As long as I am being clear behind the “why” of sucking, and it’s helping me get in alignment with my value of health and long-term vision, then short-term system failure is acceptable.
5 Things To Help Create Change
Right now, my higher truth to create change is about bringing my every day, real-life fitness into alignment with my vision and values. For others, it may be aligning your everyday reality of money and your values. Whatever new initiative or project you may be taking on to create change, remind yourself of these 5 things:
Be Curious, Not Critical. I could become really annoyed with myself for slacking on parts of my life, but instead (because I know I’m not changing anything for another 3 weeks) I choose to be curious: “Hmm, I wonder why I have a craving for Cheeze-It crackers? Interesting . . . “
Choose Responsibility Over Victimhood. We all have this idea that (metaphorically speaking) we’re supposed to keep six plates spinning in the air as we attempt to create change and adding the seventh metaphorical plate. Who said we needed six plates? Who said they could never break, or that breaking was a bad thing? I have a choice: I can either find reasons that I need Cheeze-Its now, make myself “right” for wanting them, or find reasons to make myself “wrong” for wanting them…or I can just say, right or wrong is irrelevant, today I choose Cheeze-Its. I can choose differently tomorrow.
This is Temporary, Not A Trend. The reason it’s okay for me to eat my body-weight in Cheeze-Its (well, maybe not that much), forget to load my dishwasher or overspend on takeout while I get the hang of this regular Kinesis thing is that even though slacking would not be the healthiest long-term choice, I know it’s temporary. I have an end date in mind to assess my energy, my spending and my overall health in about 3 more weeks. And I know what to do to get back on track. If I wasn’t aware of those changes, that might be cause for greater concern.
Expect To Miscalculate. Even with going easy on myself while I create change, I still might need to DO LESS. That might be frustrating when I want my entire life to run perfectly and look like one of those “getting things done” movie montages, but it’s realistic. Monday night I went to bed at 9 pm because I was exhausted (I actually started getting ready for bed at 8:30 pm, but needed to inspect my pores for 15 minutes). It doesn’t make sense to give myself permission to let things slide, and then get upset because I let things slide more than I previously thought I would.
Give Yourself Credit. In spite of the dirty dishes, clean laundry still in the dryer, cat hair accumulation, empty takeout boxes and haze of Cheeze-It dust sticking to me, I am making progress. In three weeks, I can lift more weight. My body alignment is improving. I’m not totally wiped out afterwards. None of it is revolutionary, but if I just become a little more efficient with every workout, I’ll be that much closer to my vision. When you attempt to create change, teensy bits of progress is still progress.
Actions This Week
How can you apply this to create change in your life, be it about your money or something else?
- Take stock. What’s your vision? How do you see yourself getting closer to that through your actions and behaviors? Are your values evident in how you spend your time and money?
- What will you suck at? What thing are you willing to suck at for awhile, in service to your higher truth? What are you missing from your life right now that would be the real-life interpretation of your highest values and desires?
- Make a commitment. In the grand scheme of your life, 6-8 weeks is nothing—and it’s everything. What could you completely transform about your life if you gave it 100% focus and priority?
P.S. If you’re trying to align your values and priorities with your money, you should check out my free workbook on Chief Initiatives which talks all about those issues. You can download that free workbook here.