An Easier Approach to Change
At Grace and Laughter I have decided to invite guests to blog for us. I have met many wonderful people in my career and want to pass on their information/wisdom/opinions to my readers. My first guest blogger is Sue Ronnenkamp of AgeFullLiving.com. I think you'll enjoy her blog! An Easier Approach to Change At the beginning of each month, my calendar prompter reminds me that it’s time to update my Change Journal. This is a ritual I started in June 2008 after spending a lot of time reading about making changes – including great information I found on Ariane de Bonvoisin’s web site called First 30 Days. I thought – why not take change just 30 days at a time? Would this work better than strategies I’d tried in the past? The answer to this last question is a resounding YES! It’s now been over a year and a half since I started my Change Journal (a simple Composition Book I picked up for $1 at Walgreens). At the beginning of each month, I list the changes I want to try or work on for that month (2-5 items is normal for me). When I reach the end of the month, I review my list and write briefly about the results – what worked and what didn’t. And then I create a new list for the new month. Some changes stay on my list for a few months until they are fully cemented in my life. Some things get tabled and tried later. Some changes get knocked off the list – “tried that, didn’t work, try something else.” Bottom line, I never beat myself up over the things that don’t work. I just focus on what DID work for me and move forward with keeping change active in my life. What kind of changes have I made since I started this practice? Here are some notable ones from my change list:
- Started doing crossword puzzles – something I had shied away from my whole life because my dad and sister are such crossword puzzle wizards.
- Did my first REAL push-ups at exercise class (something I’d always said I couldn’t do).
- Switched health clubs which led to trying aqua classes for the first time – exercise that gives my aging joints a break, is surprisingly effective and fun, and that has provided a nice change of pace in my weekly routine.
- Took baby steps toward being more energy conscious – starting with using cloth bags for groceries one month, turning off unneeded lights around the house another.
- Followed my dad’s advice and got back into the stock market and investing money again.
- FINALLY lost the extra unwanted pounds I had gained by trying a new diet that now allows me to eat more and weigh less.
- Cut down on salt and started using salt substitutes like Mrs. Dash at most meals.
As you can see, some of these changes are pretty minor. But as I see it, EVERY POSITIVE CHANGE COUNTS – no matter how big or how small I’ve also learned that once I find a change that feels right for me, then I need to work on making it STICK so it becomes a natural part of my life – even if it takes several months to accomplish this. Changes that stick are how progress is made and how rewards can be reaped for your efforts. And once a change is cemented in your life, then you can move on to the next thing and keep building on your change successes. So, what do you think? How does approaching change just 30 days at a time sound to you? Is this something worth trying this year? To learn more about this, go to www.first30days.com and give change a more reasonable try. Who knows – it may just stick like it did for me. Good luck! Sue Ronnenkamp is the creator and founder of Age-Full Living, an aging education and consulting firm that focuses on the positive aspects, opportunities, and gifts of growing older. Sue calls herself an “Age Changent” for Baby Boomers and beyond – her made- up and catchy version of the term “change agent” that encompasses both changing the way we think about aging AND embracing changing with our own aging. For more information, visit Sue’s website at www.AgeFullLiving.com.
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