“Imagine that at the bottom of the mountain is your lover. As you ski down the mountain, keep your torso always facing your lover. You want to keep showing your best-side.”
That was probably the best advice I got to improve my skiing over the holidays from one of my best friends. I don’t have a lover (i’m not that exciting), but the point was taken. And voila! My skiing improved over the course of the day.
I have a family that loves to ski and I’ve been along for the ride. Each year when I go I stay fairly intermediate at my level of skiing. Most years, I’m fine with that level, but this year as my kids started to get better than me, I had a choice to make – stay at my comfort level, or intentionally try and get better.
I reflected that this is true for so many areas of our life – do we want the status quo or do we want a change?
- Am I happy with the status quo in this area of my life or do I want to make a change?
- Do I have the energy, space, and/or time to make this change?
- Where/When can I create some time/energy/space to move towards the change I want to make?
- Can I break this big change down into smaller steps? What’s the first one?
The Status Quo
In the culture that values growth and change, I think that embracing the status quo gets a bad rap. Sometimes there’s power in saying, “I need to make a change in this area, but I’m not ready, so I’m not going to.”
You may worry that I’m enabling bad behaviour, but the purpose of this is to release the layer of shame and guilt we have about not making a change. This layer of guilt/shame often makes it even harder to make a change. No one needs that. There is a power in being truly honest with oneself. If this feels too edgy for you, try saying, “I commit to not making a change in this area for 1 month. I’ll revisit this on _____________”.
The Power Of Small Steps
Small steps for big goals can be powerful. Sometimes when we look at big goals or changes we’d like to make, we want burrow away and hope tomorrow looks better.
I get like this when I think of the environment. I greatly admire people who make bold changes and lead in this area and often think I should be doing something much grander than what I’m doing. Instead, it’s been more powerful to pause and pick one area I want to make a change – e.g. buy more local produce.
Often, as I give myself permission to make small changes, I naturally start to do more in that area. But I can’t do it from a place of self-judgment or overwhelm.
The same can be said for any other areas we want big changes – the momentum of starting with small steps leads to less judgment/overwhelm and naturally gets the process moving towards the change we want to make.
Make It More Enticing
The example of facing my best side towards my lover is way more exciting than saying “face your torso towards the bottom of the mountain”. Is there a way to add a little spice or excitement to the thing you want to change?
Sometimes, it’s making a change with support – having a friend or group join you or just congratulate you on doing the first step. Sometimes it’s changing your environment while you brainstorm how to break a big goal into smaller steps. It could be adding a reward for yourself after completing the first step. Maybe you’ll just change the wording around your change and it’ll feel more interesting to you.
What kind of changes or goals do you want to make this year? What changes do you know you’re not ready to make and need to be a little kinder to yourself about it?