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.

Why Can’t We All Find That Motivation To Get Healthy

I hear all the time about supplements, foods or lifestyle changes that will make people live longer. I’ve given out so much of these life-extending and health-promoting tips but majority of the time the information goes unused and forgotten. Why is it we have all this information that will make us healthy but we just can’t make ourselves use it?

I see my neighbor sitting outside her doorway smoking every couple of hours and then retreating back into her dark house, day in and day out. Why would she want to quit smoking I wonder? She looks like she hasn’t experienced any type of fear, excitement or joy in a long time. It’s so sad. What does she have to look forward to? Why would ten extra years of life matter to her?

There are many people who can’t care about their health because they aren’t excited about living. They are stuck in a rut, doing the same routine, experiencing the same non-emotions.  I’ve caught myself in these ruts many times and I manage to fall back into them often. We all do. But life is meant to be a rich and joyful experience the majority of the time. Joy and happiness can even be thought of as a compass for living. If I’m feeling rich emotions on a regular basis I’m heading in the right direction and doing the right things. If I’m stuck in a non-emotional rut it’s time for a change in course.

Aside from joy we need to experience fear or excitement from time to time as well.  How many times a year do you get butterflies in the pit of your stomach because you have pushed your limits and overstepped your boundaries? I used to hate that feeling, but now I get happy when I feel it because it means I chose to expand past that comfort level and the old routine is changing.

If you aren’t experiencing these rich emotions very often, something needs to shift. One great example I see where this happens is with the non-athlete marathon runner. Marathons have become huge, especially with middle-age working mothers. Marathon training is a big undertaking and can be quite stressful. Why would an already stressed-out and overworked person take on more? I believe it’s because it provides us with these emotions that we're looking for. Be it the fear of setting an impossible goal, the butterflies and worries before the start, and the excitement and accomplishment after the finish. These are the emotions we were built to experience on a regular basis. I’ve never wanted to run a marathon while watching a race. A marathon runner at the tail end of a grueling run isn’t a very appealing sight. I have many times however, seen the joy on a finisher’s face and have been envious of what they were feeling. If someone is feeling that, why wouldn’t they want to do everything they can to live a longer and experience more of these great feelings?

In chiropractic, we adjust the spine to optimize the communication of the mind’s innate healing intelligence to the body.  Aspects of our life that interfere with this intelligent force can be physical, mental or nutritional. When this force is working at its full potential you are able to feel and appreciate life on a deeper level. It’s life in high def instead of black and white. Chiropractic provides the physical adjustments to our nervous system and these rich emotions provide the mental adjustments. When we get adjusted we remind our nervous system that life is meant to feel good.  When we feel good, and see life as good, health becomes a priority.

I believe this is where health begins. If you are having difficulty motivating yourself to improve your health, it’s time to check your emotional compass. Life is supposed to be fun and exciting. Seek out those experiences and emotions and you’ll find what motivates you to live longer and healthier.