Change Is Easy, Thinking About Change Is Hard

A big part of what a chiropractor does is coach people on how to make changes to their health.  Making change, whether it be health, job, or any other part of life has some common difficulties.

A well-known chiropractor once said that, “Change is easy, thinking about change is hard.”  As a person that loves sailing I often see aspects of sailing that are great metaphors for life. One such aspect that relates to this is when you are out on the ocean and there are storm clouds looming. The anticipation of that incoming storm is the hard part. Sitting in the calm wondering how bad the waves and wind are going to get and what is going to break on the boat is incredibly nerve-wracking. Once you are in the middle of the storm however it rarely is as bad as you anticipated and you don’t have time to worry because you are busy managing the boat.  It’s the same for making changes to your health. Thinking of how hard it’s going to be and how you’re not going to be able to do it is the hard part. Once you get out of your head and into your body and begin taking real action, things fall into place and it’s easy.

I go to a local shop frequently and occasionally chat with an older guy that works there.  One time he was poking fun at his marriage and said “It’s amazing how comfortable two people can get being uncomfortable with each other.”  It made me laugh but I think it applies to making changes to health.  We’re comfortable being in the ruts were in.  It makes us uncomfortable to think about getting out of those ruts.

Once the change has been initiated there is another roadblock that commonly gets encountered.  The initial excitement of making that change begins to wear off and you start to slog through months of imperceptible shifts from day to day.  An acupuncturist and mentor of mine, Dr. Alan Arnette, says that true healing takes seasons, not days or weeks. This can be frustrating when we all to some degree have that “quick fix” mentality.  We begin to lose momentum.

An author I enjoy reading named Captain Fatty Goodlander, says that “Tenacity trumps knowledge and talent every time.”  In other words, you’ve got to “keep on keepin’ on”.   This helps me to break through this second blockade.  Captain Goodlander offers us more advice that I remind myself of weekly; “If you can’t move forward, move sideways but never give up.  Because a door will eventually open up and if you’re still in the game you’ll be able to step through to the next phase.”

The last roadblock occurs when someone is getting close to reaching their goal.  This is self-sabotage.

In the foreword to the book “The Alchemist” Paulo Coelho says that this is “the fear of realizing the dream...”  He goes on to say that “The mere possibility of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt.  We look around at all those who have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either.  We forget about all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far.”  “This is the most dangerous of the obstacles because it has a kind of saintly aura: renouncing joy and conquest.”  

I see this almost every day with parents of young children.  These parents do indeed have this saintly aura because they have neglected their health and passions in order to be more attentive to their kids.  It’s difficult to remind ourselves that more than anything our kids need us healthy and living their lives with passion.  Why do we tell our kids to “Go out and live your dreams; you can do anything and be anything you set your mind to”, but then as soon as they do, we tell them “Shut up and stay in school.” (Captain Fatty) All the while they see us telling ourselves “I’d love to exercise more, eat better, and do what I love but I can’t because I’m just too busy.”

One more time Paulo Coelho gives us a little wisdom, he says “if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get...then you help the soul of the world”  By making positive changes in your life you are not only bettering yourself but also the lives around you, and ultimately our collective World.