Small Changes

Small changesA year ago January, I made a commitment to create a blog entry every week. I have never missed a week and except for 5 or 6 weeks when I was late, all of my posts came out on Tuesdays. UNTIL THIS WEEK!  I didn't have much time at all and when I did have time, I had no thoughts about what to say. As I was preparing for this upcoming week (which is one of the things I always do on Sunday evenings), I almost decided not to write a post this week. You can hear the voice of my saboteur, right?

"it's too late - technically you already missed last week"

"if you write something now, it will be just to fill up space"

"be honest - you have nothing to say this week"

"it's okay - it happens - give yourself a break"

"who cares?"

That last statement is the one that got me. I CARE!  I made a commitment and if I let it go this week, it will be much easier to let it go the next time I have a busy week or run low on ideas. Next thing you know, I will write an entry once a month or even drop the idea all together. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!

So, here I am at 8:30 on a Sunday night looking around my office for something inspiring. I decided to check online and see if anything grabbed me and I found this picture poster about small changes posted on the Jazzercise Inc. Facebook page. I'm not sure if this tidbit has ever leaked out in my writings, but I have been a Jazzercise instructor for 31 years. Except for my oldest child, who is 33, nothing in my life has been with me longer than Jazzercise. I decided I would share their FB thought with you because it's powerful and I absolutely believe in it. I believe that small changes for good can make a big difference and I believe that small changes for bad can lead to bigger and worse things. Greatness and complete evil all likely started from pretty small steps!

Let me share a few small changes I have made in my life that led to big differences and then end by challenging you to make a small change this week.

1) At a difficult time in my life I was working with a therapist who presented me with an interesting challenge. She suggested that I seemed to have given away all of my personal power to other people  - all of the people that were "making me do things". When I asked what she meant, she said "you keep saying you have to do this and you have to do that - who is making you do these things?"  I couldn't answer the question, so I got homework from her. My job was to go home and think about who was really making me do these things.  Of course, the answer was me, and since it was me, I really did have a choice. At that point, she asked that I change one small thing - I couldn't say "I have to ________"   I could say I'm going to or I choose to or I want to, but I couldn't say I have to.  Simply eliminating that one word from my pattern of speaking made a world of difference about how I felt. I realized that I really was in control of my time and what I did with it.

2) My husband went through a few years where he was working ridiculous hours. Work just happened to be very demanding and I went through a time that I felt neglected and resentful. I felt sorry for myself and was unhappy that we couldn't have nights out or weekends away. At the same time,  I was in a coaching seminar and I used this subject for a coaching session. My coach suggested that maybe I should stop looking for such big chunks of time with him.  Her idea was for me to look for moments with him each day - just moments. I made that small change and life almost instantly got better. He didn't work any less or have any more time, but he and I knew that we could find a moment or two each day to simply connect with each other and focus on our relationship. That small change of mindset made a huge difference in how I felt about his work and about us.

3) I carry my stress in my shoulders, which translates to neck issues at times. After several years of nagging pain, someone suggested I get a pillow that would cradle my head and neck differently. I spent the bigger bucks and got the pillow and have never regretted it. It was just a pillow, but it was the foundation for a good night sleep. It's amazing what sleeping with a relaxed neck can do for you! Not only did I feel rested, but my arm tingling went away and my back felt better.  When the pain was gone, I had better energy and was able to focus during the day. Not to mention that I was in a better mood. All of that because I bought a pillow!

As I write about these 3 things tonight, dozens of other small changes I've made pop into my head. On the other hand, I could list all the BIG CHANGES I attempted to make that never came to be because I quit or gave up.  It's a combination of one small thing and being consistent; that combination can lead to big differences.

So, what is one small change you want to make this week? Write it down tonight and then get after it every day this week; let me know what happens!