One Healthy Change Leads to Another
Are you resisting a change you know you should make? Making changes in one area of your life might help you notice where else you need to make them. Often, one healthy change leads to another because you create momentum and develop confidence. As you start to exercise more, you might start to catch yourself eating less of the junk foods that you used to eat mindlessly. Give up coffee for green tea and you might find yourself making other small changes such as stretching more often during the day.
Change is a part of life, and when we learn to make healthy changes, however small, we remind ourselves that a transformation process doesn’t have to be extremely difficult or deeply uncomfortable. In fact, it can be invigorating.
Feeling fewer aches and pains as a result of changing your exercise habits, feeling more energized in the morning—these kinds of results can motivate you to make even more changes. However, you might also want to reward yourself for having replaced some habits and following through on your commitment to make your changes stick. That reward might be simply sitting and writing out a story of your transition from struggling with a problem to achieving success.
Pay attention to how you feel as you write your story, acknowledging what you did. Let yourself feel proud of the success you achieved. The confidence and pride you feel can be a very satisfying reward that motivates you to set a new goal and begin the process of transformation again.
Let’s say you begin to eat better, which then helps you to be less depressed, more confident, and ultimately, more assertive. That happens because you have set goals and worked hard to meet them. You may well start to feel excited about working toward goals you would never have set before.
Your desires, goals, and priorities can change over time. As you develop courage and confidence, you might find yourself dreaming bigger and setting goals for changing areas of your life you used to think you couldn’t possibly change. For example, you might come to believe you truly can rid yourself of some of the aches and pains you have that are related to aging or a physical condition. Developing greater physical strength and stamina might not seem so hard to achieve after all. On the other hand, you might decide you no longer want to work quite so hard at improving your physical health and instead want to simply enjoy your body more—doing exercise, such as dancing, that is pleasurable rather than a chore.
As you think about one change you would like to make, set a small goal. It could be cutting out sugary beverages, meditating for five minutes three mornings a week, or writing down each night three things you are grateful for when it comes to your health and well-being. Persist at achieving that goal even if you miss the mark a few times here and there. Keep going until you finally achieve it. Then check in with how you feel. Notice whether you have more confidence. Notice what you discovered about yourself and give yourself credit for learning about how you went about getting back on track toward meeting the goal. Let yourself feel proud for having pushed yourself to meet your goal, however small it was. You have made one good change that stuck. Now you can open yourself up to believing that this one good change will lead to another. What will your next change be? In this way, incrementally, you can experience your ability to transform any aspect of your life and even change the story of your health.
If you would like to learn more about shamanic and Jungian techniques, including expanded-awareness practices, that can help you reach your goals, you might want to read my books Change Your Story, Change Your Life and Change the Story of Your Health.
A version of this article appeared on OMTimes.
Carl Greer, PhD, PsyD, is a retired clinical psychologist and Jungian analyst, a businessman, and a shamanic practitioner, author, and philanthropist funding over 60 charities and more than 850 past and current Greer Scholars. He has taught at the C.G. Jung Institute of Chicago and been on staff at the Replogle Center for Counseling and Well-Being.