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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Essence Of Change Is Adding

The classic New Year's resolution is weight loss. Whichever way you slice that it involves restriction, right? As in less calories.

But what if weight loss, and other desired changes, had more to do with adding things to your life than taking them away?

After all isn't deprivation a top reason why diets fail?

So for example you could think about weight, or kicking an addiction, or pursuing a better job, better relationship, you name it, in terms of adding.

Which might work better since America is a country where acquisition, accumulation, and greed for more is considered a good thing.

As you add more of what you want to your life, the things and people that are toxic will naturally drop away and the success you desire will become a habit.

Success will be so natural to you, so self-reinforcing, that long-term fidelity to your goal is more likely than if you feel punished for pursuing the goal.

In short, change means redefining the process. Or as Penelope Trunk put it, reframing it.

So it goes like this in real life - some examples:

1. Weight loss is not the goal - gaining better health and self-esteem is.

2. You will not eliminate any food, but rather add five servings a day of fresh fruit and vegetables.

3. You don't cut down on your responsibilities to work out, you add the responsibility of "me time" which includes that, and other things.

4. You aren't taking time out to study, but rather are adding a circle of mentors and peers, together with "brain food" (immersion in a subject), to add depth and value and joy to your professional life.

5. You aren't "leaving" anybody behind as you pursue more fulfilling work or relationships, rather you are adding happiness to the little corner of
Earth you inhabit.

The Buddhists believe that health is partly about effectively managing change - since it is inevitable.

For most of us this is hard. Often change is painful, because it involves the natural processes associated with decline, decay, and death.

But sometimes the way we handle change is worse than the change itself. We associate change with death, dig in our heels, and fall into the toxic pattern of doing the wrong things, the same way, over and over again.

Sometimes we even tell ourselves that our toxic behavior is a genuine attempt to adapt and evolve. But the ultimate metric is that we fail o move the needle, sigh, and throw up our hands as if to say, "Oh well."

We have a lot more control over our lives than we think. The world is built that way.

When we find ourselves in a negative situation, seemingly boxed in on all sides, one way to wedge things loose is to deliberately add good things. Good habits, good friends, good food, good fun. So that the bad ones fall away.

Try and see if it works for you.

Meanwhile, I'll keep working while the Red Line fixes the current delay. At least in here it is warm.

And as you can see from the neon shoelaces, I will be headed to the gym to add some "me time" to my day just as soon as I can (get off this train that is)!

A-ha, there we go. Just in time.

Have a good day everyone, and good luck!