Monday, March 25, 2019

Change - Trying something new - Old Dog – New Tricks

I am a creature of habit, I’ll admit, and I am not a fan of change.  As I started out for my run on a few days ago, I couldn’t go my usual way.  We live on a street that circles around and blends into the main street for the neighborhood.  I couldn’t go my usual way because my neighbor had the road blocked with his truck and trailer.  So rather than waiting for him to clear the road, I decided to just go the other way.  Gosh, did that feel strange.  Although this is the same road, it just seemed so different to go the other way.  It took getting back on the regular route before I felt comfortable again.  Although I was doing the same thing, my walk/run routine, just starting out in a different direction made it seem so strange.
Have you ever started something new?  Or tried doing something a different way?  Did it feel uncomfortable to start with?  Did you continue with the new way or revert back to the same old way you’ve always done things?
This makes me think of all those motivational seminars where the speaker asks you to fold your arms a certain way that was comfortable and then asking you to fold them a different way.  The different way was not uncomfortable per se, it just felt different.  That’s kind of how it is when we want something to change, but we want it to be comfortable.  Or we want to change, and we want to get it right the first time, so that the process or the new thing will be easy.  Nope, it just doesn’t work that way usually.  Typically, when we try or attempt to do something new, it’s going to feel uncomfortable and/or at least different until we get used to it.  Until we train it to muscle memory and make it a habit. 
So how can we make change more comfortable?  How can we establish the habits/routines we need to make?  Here are my thoughts…..
-        I think one of the first ways is, we have to commit to the change.  Sometimes that means doing some research, reading some articles, watching some videos, talking to people, etc. to see how other people are doing the thing we want to do.  Learning what has worked for others and figuring out what we feel will work best for us.  However, while research is a good thing to do, some people suffer from analysis paralysis in that they can’t start anything new until they’ve done all the research in the world and have everything down to a science before they start.  These are the folks that will give you every excuse there is for why they can’t or won’t start something new.
-        Secondly, I think we have to commit to a start date.  Most people start new things at the beginning of a new year – by making their new year’s resolutions.  Some start on a Monday.  The point is, you must decide and start and also commit to give the change time.  Most say it takes doing something 40 times or 40 days to commit it to habit.
-        Third – Realize we’re not going to be perfect the first couple of times we try our new thing.  We are going to stumble and mumble, but that’s OK, as we learn to do the thing the correct way.  Think in terms of a ball player practicing their craft.  They spend hours swinging a bat or throwing a ball in order to get better and better.  We will get better the more we do the thing.
-        Fourth – Track our progress.  How are we going to get better if we don’t have some sort of measurement?  Progress is progress regardless of how small.  How do we eat an elephant?  One small bite at a time. 
-        Fifth – Critique, adjust, and stay on track and if we get off track, even starting over.  If it’s important enough to us, we’ll keep on keeping on in order to make the positive changes and develop the positive habits we want to make in our lives.
Often, we are presented with new ways of doing things, i.e. new concepts, new ideas, new procedures, etc.  While we hear that others may have tried the new thing and had success, we resist and give reasons as to why we don’t think it will work.  The ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ mentality.  Yes, I’m guilty and must rationalize as to why it would be beneficial to give the new way a try.  Kind of like my scenario of doing my running routine in a different direction.  It felt a little strange, but sometimes a change adds new life and vitality to a regular routine.  Perhaps doing the same routine a different way will net better results.
Do you remember Mikey?  ‘Try it, you’ll like it.’  If we never try it, how do we know if the new way will work better or not?’
What have you tried and/or changed?  What is your feedback on this topic?
Your comments and feedback are welcomed and appreciated.

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