How long does change take?

start today to make real changeChange takes as long as it takes.

Yesterday, I cracked open an old journal that I had started at the end of 2010.  At the time, I thought I was pretty clear on the goals I wanted to accomplish, but wouldn’t you know I just accomplished some of them a few weeks ago.

Over six years later.

I think of myself as being pretty adaptable, so what was really going on with these goals?  These were the kinds of goals that depended only on me, things sort of like cleaning out closets, so I had nowhere to look but inward.

What took six years?

I had to be willing to make the same mistake enough times that I finally got tired of making it.

I had to be willing to change what I was doing and not just what I was thinking.

But it’s not too late – in fact, I had forgotten that I had set these things as goals in this lost journal over six years ago, and chances are I had probably set them as goals prior to that!  No matter how much time has passed, these accomplishments are totally worth having now and going forward.

So, say you’re making the same mistake, over and over again.

That’s progress in the making!  Now take a hard look at that mistake and ask yourself if you really want to make it again.  Is there an outcome you would rather have than the same one you always get?  Do you see a possible pathway to get to that goal?

For example, you might have a problem with skipping workouts.  Your workout time comes, and it’s warmly accompanied by 100 excuses – no clean clothes, too much work, too tired, too hungry, too out of love with working out.  It doesn’t matter how many weeks or years have gone by since your last workout – you can change your story today by ignoring those excuses and getting moving for at least 10 minutes.

Or maybe your problem is in the kitchen – you haven’t got any healthy groceries on hand, or you don’t feel like cooking. It doesn’t matter how many drive thrus you’ve whizzed through until now – you can change your story today by taking different action and eating something healthy, even if it’s as simple as a salad from the grocery store salad bar.

Take different action to get different results.

In my head, I saw 10,000 different ways to reach my goal!  None of them mattered except the thing that I finally did.

If you’re thinking too much about your next step, try thinking smaller: what can I do in the next 5 minutes to help me reach this goal?  Let that next tiny action be the spark that ignites your real progress – the tiny changes are the most important ones.

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