I recently wrote an article called Decide to Change, Your Future Depends on It. As a coach, I’m frequently asked, “But how do I make this change that we’re talking about?” And I eventually got to the point that I said, “Decide. Draw a line in the sand, step over it. Don’t look back. Continue forward with the new change, the decision that you just made.” It’s for your good. You want to accomplish specific things in your life, certain things, and until you change what’s holding you back, you can’t get there. And, you know, it’s easy to say. It’s not simple to do. It really takes dedication and being in charge of your mind.
And I’ve got a good personal example of that one. I struggle with sugar. I’m a sugarholic. I don’t know if it’s genetic or lack of nutrition that drives me to the sugar. It doesn’t matter. I went for over a year without eating sugar. Then one day, a delicious, dense chocolate cake called to me, and I let my guard down. And sugar’s been in my life ever since then.
Sugar is not the only thing. My brain or ego/mind urges me to eat more than I should or want to. It tastes so good! I just can’t stop now. And my favorite poison to eat that is the most challenging to stop is Jif Creamy Peanut Butter. I like crunchy peanut butter, but we have Jif Creamy because that’s what my husband likes. and I’ll say I’ll just have one spoonful. Hah! If I’m not careful, I can eat a major portion of the jar. And then I feel icky, my weight goes up, and it takes a while to come down, my body doesn’t function, right — It’s a mess.
I have a dream of having a long lifespan and healthspan. I want to be a vibrant, healthy senior citizen. One hundred and fifty would be fine, I think. But to get there, I have to watch what I eat today. I have to watch my movement, and activity, and mindset — everything. So, it’s important to me that I decide to change my eating habits because it’s important to my future. The future depends on, literally, in this case.
But another change that I’ve recently come to understand and realize the importance of changing this habit is my intensity. I was raised by an intense woman. Probably an intense man. And as I think about it, a lot of the important people in my life have been intense. And I’m like an emotional sponge or an energy sponge. I pick up that intensity.
My mom was so intense that when we were downtown running errands, (I was a little kid, two or three years old) I had to run to keep up with her because she’s just walking so fast. She had places to go, things to do, people to see, and I had to keep up with her. So, I ran. And that’s just one minor example of my mother’s intensity. When I visited my sister in France during her semester abroad, we took her French family to dinner. And she warned me that they walked slowly. And we’d get to talking, and next thing we knew, we’d be on their heels. So, we’d slow down, get to talking, and be on their heels. We let them get a block ahead of us, and we caught up with them unintentionally. Not a big deal, but there’s an example of intensity.
But everything I do is with intensity. I play intensely, I fight intensely, I work intensely, I sleep intensely. It’s just intensity. And I’ve realized that’s not good for me. And most people don’t understand it. I remember calling a friend going, “When did you leave that message?” I was intense because I was mad at the cell phone company where the message was left on my cell phone, not at them. But they didn’t know that, and I didn’t realize how they took it until a lot later.
So, I have adopted a mantra. I made it up myself. It was Lighten Up. And that made me laugh then, as it does every time I say it. And then I added Love. Every morning I remind myself to Lighten Up, to Laugh, and to Love. And you know, as I tell you this, I realize I benefit by repeating that mantra throughout the day, so that my work, my relationships, my health — everything — can be less intense. Not less important, not dropped standards, just less intense.
So there’s a change I’m going to make. I have decided, here, with you, I’ve decided to change my intensity. And yes, I love intensely, too, which can scare — back when I dated — scare men. My husband has come to embrace it.
There are a few examples of what I mean when I say, “Decide to change. Your future depends on it.” Your health could depend on changing your eating habits, or your movement habits, your sleep habits. Your relationships could depend on changing some habit or personality trait, and I don’t mean to quit being you. I mean to be the real you. And the real me isn’t intense. Yeah, I was trained to be that way, but at the bottom of my heart and soul, no. I’m easygoing. You just wouldn’t know it some days.
So, here’s a challenge for you: Stop to think about habits that you have — ways of living that you have — that aren’t serving you. They don’t serve you, because they don’t get you to the future you want. Pick one. And decide to change. And pay attention to it. When you slip, and you fall back into the old way, stand up, brush yourself off, laugh, and love yourself. And continue with the change you decided to make. You’ll get there. I will.
The article that inspired this video is Decide to Change — Your Future Depends on It