Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Time for a Change

One simple practice for creating meaningful change in your life.

Forget about simple new year’s resolutions.  They don’t work.  Take some time to really ask yourself what you want to be different in 2012 and what gets in your way of doing it.

In my work with groups outdoors, there is an activity I do sometimes as a “warm up,” that me a lot about the people in the group.  It is called “Time for a Change” and it is quite simple.  Everyone stands in a circle and one person volunteers to come into the center and lead one stretch or movement.  That person is in the middle until someone calls out “time for a change” and takes the spot in the middle. 

This simple exercise shows how willing we are to initiate change and how we can also tolerate boredom, discomfort,  or just things not being right for us for a long time without wanting to be the one to change it.  And we all have the power to change it at any time. 

Some people jump right in and just do it without thinking too much and do something just to do it.  Some people feel they have to know the right thing to do before speaking up.  Some people know exactly what they need but are too afraid to put themselves out there to do it.

My inner dialog the first time I did this went something like this: “Oh, this is good, everyone else has some great ideas for things to do, and I’m enjoying this.  Oh, nobody is doing a stretch for my back or calves, they really could use it.  I don’t know if I really want do that on the woodchips, it might be uncomfortable.  Maybe nobody else wants to do that, then I’ll be out there leading people in something they don’t want to do and I’ll look silly.  OK, now most everyone else has done something and I still haven’t got to do the thing I want to do.  I guess if I want this to happen, I need to do it.  I guess I’ll jump in now.”  I call out “time for a change.”  I step in the center, I get a little nervous having everyone look at me, I do my stretch, someone says “Oh, good one, I needed that.” I start getting uncomfortable that nobody is taking over.  Finally someone jumps in and I step back out thinking, “Oh, that wasn’t that bad and my body feels better now.”

Of course, I’m not writing about this so you can form a circle of your friends and run though some stretches, but if you want to go for it!  I hope to get you to think about what keeps you from calling for a change in your own life?  We all go through a similar process with making any change in our life.  Is your process something like mine?  Are you waiting for someone else to do it for you? Are you afraid of putting yourself out there?  Do you feel you have to know the exact right, perfect thing to do before you will risk making a change?  Do you rush right in and say something has to change before having any ideas on what to change? Would you rather just continue tolerating things not being right for you than risk actually getting what you want or need?

Start by checking in with yourself honestly.  Are you happy with everything in your life, or do you feel there is something that is off that you could change?  What change do you feel wants to happen?  What keeps you from doing it?  Can you risk going for it?  If it feels too big to just jump into with both feet, can you identify some small steps that you are willing to commit to? 
  1. Take the time now to ask yourself, “What is important to me?”  Keep asking it.  What is really important to you? 
  2. Write the top 3 things on a card and put them on your bathroom mirror.
  3. Then ask yourself each night as you brush your teeth, how much of my day did I spend on these things that are really important to me?  Was I better today than yesterday?  How will you do better tomorrow? 

Slowly but surely, you will start to create real change in your life.  Change takes daily commitment and takes time.  But if you are really working on the things that are important, it is worth it and it is inevitable!  Here’s to you defining and creating the you and the year you want in 2012!


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