Confronting the Details: A New Approach to Change
We all have these little things that we tend to put off: working out, eating right, caring for our bodies, etc. These New Year's resolution-type items are often short-lived, but what if we look at these things differently? What if chipping away at the little things in the short term could contribute to our overall health in a long time? What if we find a way to run the marathon and stop trying to sprint this race?
"...what if we look at these things differently?"
I have found that in my relationships. I have a lot of changes that I need to make in many different areas of my life. But one thing that it took 33 years for me to get through my thick head: I have to stop looking for overnight revolutionary changes. Throughout my life, I have tried these significant, grandiose campaigns that burn fast and bright but quickly fizzle out from exhaustion and the inevitable disappointment of losing.
I have a new strategy, and it is working so far. Every day, when I wake up, I go over my goals. Writing things down helps a brain like mine, which needs structure and planning to reduce mental clutter. This, in itself, is one of the little things that helps my day-to-day.
As things progressed, my focus on long-term goals added enough pressure that the plan seemed too daunting to have measurable progress. Inevitably, progress is chipped away with mounting losses versus a significant strategy. However, if I view my goals by the day, I am often surprised by the longevity of discipline I produce. A slight loss is not losing the war. A small failure goes against the day instead of the intended change. I can resolve that “tomorrow will be better.” Seems simple, right?
Maybe I’m alone here. Perhaps this is unique to a select few, and discipline comes easier for some than others. I’m sure this exists to some degree, but I am forced to believe that small changes lead to significant changes. Single-day goals lead to a better win/loss record in the grand scheme of long-term objectives.
"...I am forced to believe that small changes lead to significant changes."
I am resolving that I can allow myself to mess up sometimes. Luckily, I am surrounded by people willing to confront me with truths that I need to hear and who are eager to tell me the uncomfortable parts that I would rather pretend to ignore if I had those people in my life. If you have those people in your life, count your blessings. I encourage you to press into this and lean on this gift to allow yourself to become better. Mental health is no stranger to the erosion caused by the little things. Negative thoughts, if not addressed, can snowball into a negative self-image. Negative self-image can morph into negative actions and sabotage. The list goes on.
It’s hard to confront yourself. It’s hard to face these profound truths, but it starts with the little things. It’s a day-by-day strategy that wins the race.
Casey Brown is the volunteer editor-in-chief for Project Refit, a firefighter/EMT in New Jersey. Together with the rest of the PR team, Casey strives to authentically and effectively tell the stories of vets and first responders. Casey believes that a story told is a life extended, helping to empower many other vets and first responders to share their stories. Casey is actively seeking volunteers to join our growing writing staff. If you would like to contribute, email email@example.com to find out how YOU can get involved.
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