Thursday, June 7, 2012

Change is NOT Hard.

So, we all know the saying 'change is hard' but I'd like you to consider that change is only hard if you don't want the change to happen. We all know that we can do whatever we want to do if we have the necessary skills, the situation is in our control and we put our mind to it. 

Also... I don't use the word 'hard' lightly. Learning to walk and talk again after a stroke is hard. Choosing not to eat animals products? Not hard. Being a single parent is hard. Choosing not to eat cheese? Not hard.

My husband says I don't handle change well and he's right.. IF the change is a change I don't want. For example, technology. Every time we get a new remote or new electronic thing.. I get irritated because I have to learn how to use it. My hesitation and resistance usually comes from the fact that it isn't a change I initiated. Perhaps something wore out and broke or I am forced to upgrade.

A few years ago there was an update of a software program I was using. I was reasonably good at it, or at least good at the parts of the program I used. The company upgraded the program and completely changed the layout and how the program looked. I was lost and I'm still lost. I literally cannot find anything I'm looking for within the program. I absolutely hate using the program now because every time I try and use it, I have to go onto the internet to find out where to find what I'm looking for within the program. I liked the old program. It was fine. It didn't need to be changed. 

My husband suggested I take an online class to learn the new software and that is a great idea except I don't want to and we all know that if we don't want to do something then it makes it that much harder to do it. We are all stubborn to some extent ... sometimes, we just don't want to do something.

This is especially true when it comes to changing something like our nutrition. There are certain things that most of us grew up believing. We were told and taught that we needed to eat dead animals for protein. We were told and taught that milk and dairy food is how we get calcium. We were told and taught that our plates should hold the four basic food groups at every meal. It's difficult to come to the realization that everything you thought you knew isn't actually the truth. It's difficult to abandon what your parents told you is fact or necessity but part of growing up is learning to question authority and never to assume anything as fact until you research it on your own. Most people never question anything and they pass along the wrong information generation after generation simply because they either never thought to find out the truth or they didn't want to. You must adapt and grow and change.

We all make time to do the things we want to do. It is absolutely as simple as that. It's much easier if you make the decision to change rather than have the decision made for you but ultimately it all comes down to wanting to make the change even if it's forced upon you. 

Of course, we all want to win the lottery but that isn't in our control. Buying a lottery ticket is as much control as we have in that situation.

Think about two changes you've made in your life ... it's probably easy to come up with a change that was difficult for you .. now think about why it was difficult. Was it difficult because you didn't want to stop? Was it difficult because you enjoyed it? Was it difficult because it wasn't your idea?

Think about a change you made that was easy. Same thing ... Was it easy because you  didn't have sort of attachment to it?  was it easy because you didn't care whether it was in your life or not? Was it easy because you decided it was time to make the change?

Of course, you can say you want to change but you have to really, really want to change in order to make it happen and your resistance may not even be something you are aware of, which makes it tricky. You can actually self sabotage yourself without even fully realizing it. You can even talk yourself into believing you can't do something.

"I work 10 hours a day"
"I have children"
"I can't afford it"
"I don't have time"
"I can't live without cheese"
"My spouse isn't supportive"
"I'm too tired"
"I don't like vegetables"

Now, I can give you advice on all of these things. I can tell you how to move past all of these excuses BUT you will probably only find more excuses for my solutions and advice .... I'll say it again - change is easy if it's a change you want to make. Change is hard if it's a change you don't want to make. You will always, always, always struggle with something if you don't want to do it. Always.

Excuses are not the same as limitations. Let's be clear about that. Excuses are reasons you give yourself to make you feel not guilty about not doing something. Limitations are real reasons why something cannot be done or makes something more difficult to do.

Excuse - "I can't follow a plant based diet because I don't like tofu"

Limitation - "I can't follow a plant based diet because I'm allergic to soy"

Being allergic is a limitation, not an excuse.... but you have to be careful to not turn your limitation into an excuse. Just because you are allergic to soy doesn't mean you can't follow a plant based diet. You just make the choice to not eat soy foods. There are plenty of fruits, veggies, beans, nuts, seeds and other foods that you CAN eat which is why the excuse part doesn't work either. If you don't like tofu, don't eat it. 

When you decide to follow a plant based diet you can absolutely do it overnight. YOU make the choice. You are an adult and you make your own personal choices. It isn't difficult to make the choice to stop putting animal flesh in your mouth. You are in control. There is no outside force trying to put animal products in your mouth. You choose what goes in your grocery cart. You choose what you buy. You choose what you bring into your home and you choose what goes into your mouth. 

Yes, there are challenges .... perhaps you have a roommate or spouse that refuses to go plant based or you have children that resist the idea. Maybe you live in a city that isn't vegan friendly and it's difficult to eat out or find certain vegan ingredients. 

The challenges don't matter because it's only as hard as you make it.  So... when you have challenges and you make excuses to fail ... just stop and instead make decisions and find ways to make it happen.

Let me give you an example of how to overcome challenges and obstacles. Let's say you want to end your addiction to those fattening, sugary Starbucks drinks you've been consuming everyday for a year. My first advice is 'stop going to Starbucks' but let's assume you have a challenge - you are responsible for picking up the sugary coffee drink your boss wants every morning from Starbucks. So, you can't just stop going to Starbucks. 

You could do a few things .. 

- You could ask your boss to purchase a Starbucks card that you will use for his/her purchases and leave your wallet in the car to prevent any purchases for yourself. 
- You could leave your wallet in the car and only take in the amount of cash you need for the boss's coffee so you remove any temptation of getting one for yourself. 
- You could delegate the coffee buying duty to someone else.

In almost every case, you have choices that can be made to shoot down an excuse, limitation, or challenge.

Now, I want to say this because there are always people who have to step up and say that there are some situations where it doesn't matter how much you want something.. there are things standing in your way and I know that is true BUT I feel like those situations are not that common. People love to make excuses even when they have other options and honestly, there are instances where people have absolutely overcome huge obstacles to succeed and survive ... if you need examples, I'd be happy to give them to you.

One comes to mind - Touching the Void

"Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in the Andes when disaster struck. Simpson plunged off the vertical face of an ice ledge, breaking his leg. In the hours that followed, darkness fell and a blizzard raged as Yates tried to lower his friend to safety. Finally, Yates was forced to cut the rope, moments before he would have been pulled to his own death.

The next three days were an impossibly grueling ordeal for both men.

Yates, certain that Simpson was dead, returned to base camp consumed with grief and guilt over abandoning him. Miraculously, Simpson had survived the fall, but crippled, starving, and severely frostbitten was trapped in a deep crevasse. Summoning vast reserves of physical and spiritual strength, Simpson crawled over the cliffs and canyons of the Andes, reaching base camp hours before Yates had planned to leave."

If Joe Simpson can get himself out of a deep crevasse, spend three days crawling 5 miles through the cliffs and canyons of the Andes with no food, hardly any water and with a broken leg, exhaustion, delirium and frostbite, then you can stop eating cheese.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I have a quick question about your blog, do you think you could email me?