I am no official expert – on anything really. All I can do is speak from a position of experience and in my opinion the greatest experts aren’t those who have studied a subject until learning has ceased; the greatest experts are self-proclaimed, who have not only educated themselves but who have lived, breathed and been the topic at hand. So for this, I guess I can say, I am a self-proclaimed expert. Today we discover the idea of reinvention that is borne out of the idea to take the first step towards change.
This is a topic I think about often. It wasn’t really until I was making major changes in my life that I realized where my path was taking me. I have come to realize transformation doesn’t need to be about the big; it should and can be equally about the little. It was the little steps towards change, removing the bad and introducing the better that lead to the bigger changes in my life.
It was my decision to change who I was, literally. It happened in a way most change happens. Slowly at first.
When does that moment come to us? How do we know we are ready for change? Well, if you have listened to any of the amazing podcasts Sam has done on Tips, you will come to learn that these moments come in many, many different forms. We are sometimes convinced because we are on the bed of the Emergency Room, barely able to take our own breath in to feed our lungs, that ultimately needs to happen to live. Maybe it’s the death of a close family member who, from a distance, had been down a road that may be similar to our own – diabetes, heart disease, a life of limitations due to ill health and obesity.
Or, maybe, just maybe, it’s because we have finally decided that life is worth living. If it is because of all these reasons or just one, or maybe something else, it really doesn’t matter. What we have all realized is that the how will come once the why is decided.
Change, reinvention and the courage to imagine your life differently is a brave and wonderful thing. This really could mean in any area of your life – your health, your finances, your hobbies, where you live and who you have in your circles. Our life is a series of choices and it is the sum of those choices that lands us where we are!
Not to get too scientific on you, but someone has actually figured out, through years and years of research, test subjects and hypothesis, a method to this “change” madness. Stages of change exist. You are welcome to reject this as you are welcome to reject anything I propose, but I am going to present this to you anyway, with a little example to help us empirical learners out a bit.
The Stages of Change – Whether you like it or not!
Our example here will be introducing the wonderful and sometimes daunting idea of learning an instrument when reading, playing and writing music has never once been in your forte. And for me, I have always loved and been overly mesmerized by the banjo.
We first enter into the pre-contemplation phase – this is actually when your subconscious is doing all the work and you really don’t even know what the heck is going on.
Pre-contemplation may happen if you’re sitting at home watching tv and a commercial for a new cereal bar comes on and the background music is a wonderful tapestry of banjo and the reasons why you need to buy this snack bar. You don’t really think about it, may not even realize you’re stompin’ your foot, but the work is happening. It’s catchy, you smile and carry on watching Dancing with the Stars.
As we move into Contemplation, you may be in a conversation with your fellow engineers, talking about whatever it is that may bring you to the water cooler that day and someone says they attended a bluegrass concert and the banjo player was amazing. You are suddenly nudged by something that makes you say, “Ya, the banjo. That’s a pretty neat instrument and I kinda dig that”.
Enter Determination – sounds so action oriented, doesn’t it? Well, it really isn’t. The determination phase is the mere mental side of a decision that HAS to happen before action can occur. What could happen here? In this phase, as it is predominately mental/preparatory, one of two things unfold – magic happens or defeat occurs. Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but let’s get real. You go out, listen to all the banjo records you can get your hands on, research sheet music, local teachers, upcoming recitals, what suspenders look best with your straw hat and jeans, and then, you either jump in or decide, well…. maybe next year.
This is where you exit or continue. Sound familiar? You go big or go home.
And if you’re going big… Action then plays out. You not only have done all the mental-ish stuff about the banjo, but you have gone out, bought one, booked a teacher, paid for lessons and are on your way to a more musical life.
What’s it going to be? While life doesn’t always fit perfectly in a box, or a flow chart, or a diagram, you are here today. You are reading our blog today because the topic at a minimum interests you. You may be ready to do the mental work needed before you take the first step on the long-awaited walk towards a healthier you. Maybe you’re here because you’re my mom and I told you to read this. Whatever the reason, know you are worth both the effort and the rewards of this wonderful journey.
I can’t tell you how to start. I can’t tell you what to eat, how to move or what your goals should be. What I can tell you, however, is that I have made thousands of small changes that have resulted in mindfulness that has moved me to big change. All because my why was known and the how was haphazardly figured out, discovered, changed and rediscovered along the road.
The first step in anything is the decision to do it; that, my friend, is 100% you! The belief in your ability. The trust in your capability. And the utmost faith that it will, eventually, be worth the literal blood, sweat and tears to get you there.
Some words from a fellow obesity survivor, Tim, in his latest blog post here at Tips:
“We spend a lot of time as weight loss bloggers talking about the how. Sharing meal plans, workout regimes and bragging about the latest in diets. When people ask me how I lost weight, they are looking for words like Paleo, Keto, South Beach, Shake, Running, Walking and Lifting. They don’t want to hear about changing the way you think because they don’t want to admit that they were broken.” Read more here.
The reality is, you need to think your way to change – reinvention – a new version of you and your life. It starts with what you allow in your head and what you allow yourself to believe.
Just a little video interlude here. If you have never seen Stranger than Fiction, I suggest you do! The main character, when asked what he wants out of life, says this exact thing – he wants to live a more musical life by learning to play the electric guitar. And it is through stroking those strings that his life is opened up to something wonderful.
I hope to see you through your phases. Should you feel you have no one else that may be interested in learning the banjo, I would be happy to be your instrumental partner – maybe we can duet one day. I’m not far. And take my word for it, neither is the belief and reality of a reinvented, more musical you!