The Anatomy of Change

If you were the director of your life, what would be different?

Real change starts from deep within. It does not come from an idea that pops into your head after reading an article about health, fitness and New Year’s resolutions, unless that idea has been bubbling under the surface for some time. Real change comes from a need, a deep desire that wells up and fills your mind and body an internal drive. However, no matter how powerful that desire is, it needs to be treated with care: nurtured, fed, watered, and given air and sunlight to grow.

The New Year is a great time to plan how you are going to cultivate those heartfelt desires that will bring you the greatest satisfaction in life. The plan is how real change happens.

Step 1: Make a Choice

No one but you can determine what is truly best for your life. Your friend wants to train for a marathon, but you know running a half marathon would be a better choice for you this year. Society tells you to lose weight, but you know that what really matters is that you eat healthy food, exercise and eliminate sugar. You don’t want to focus on the weight right now. Your family tells you to stay at the job that is financially lucrative, but you love teaching.

You need to make a choice about what is best for you.

Step 2: Visualize your Goal

The best way to keep yourself psyched to make real change is to imagine yourself already there … you’ve been walking 5 days a week for 4 months now … how do you feel in your body? You’ve been running a 10K once a month with your local running club and you don’t have any injuries. You’ve spent every evening patiently helping your daughter with her math and she’s definitely improving. See the movie in your head. You’re the lead character. Body Sense how you will feel. Science has proven that this technique of envisioning yourself accomplish your goal is one of the most powerful ways to create positive outcomes. You need to exercise your imagination and put yourself into “character” as much as possible. Taking the time for this step will make all the difference.

Step 3: Get Strategic

Simply imagining yourself at the finish line after running your 4th marathon on your 44th birthday is not going to get you there. You do have to have a plan, and you have to follow through. A plan can include:

  • Specific, doable goals – break down your plan into smaller manageable components. As in the ChiRunning technique or the ChiWalking technique, focus your mind on one aspect of your goal at a time.
  • A support system – you don’t have to go it alone. Find a group or friends or family who you can support you in your process.
  • Accountability – use your support system to hold you accountable and do the same for others, because we all need helpful reminders about what is most important.
Step 4: Kick the Ball

Many great intentions never come to fruition because the idea has a great send off, but no follow through. If you kick a ball, it will eventually stop moving, unless you kick it again. Kick the ball means regular, consistent, small taps to keep your ball moving forward. Sometimes the ball will stop, or even be sent backwards by an opponent (think of your inner opponents). Kicking the ball can also get you back in the game if you’ve lost all forward momentum.

What are the changes that will bring you the most joy and satisfaction? What are the small steps you can take, consistently, to make your desire a reality? The creative process of change can be written, produced and directed by you. And, of course, you’re starring in the lead role!

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"Running doesn't hurt your body. It's the way you run that causes pain" -Danny Dreyer, author and founder of ChiRunning

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