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Self-Care Excerpt from Don't Weight
Give Yourself a POP
All things in nature change slowly and in cycles. Winter gradually gives way to spring. One day it is warm and balmy. It feels like Spring has arrived. It seems like the seasons are really progressing. Then, out of the blue, the next day it is cold and bitter. When this happens, it can feel like Spring will never arrive. But you know better. You have been through so many changes of the seasons that you have faith in the progression of the seasons. Even if the weather cycles from spring-like days back to cold winter days, you KNOW Spring is coming.
You can build that same faith in your ability to make positive changes in your lifestyle. One action at a time, you will experience yourself going back to healthy living, even after a set back. As you experience your own positive choices, you can build your FAITH in your progress over time. Just as surely as winter turns to spring, you can and will make healthier choices over time. With two steps forward and one step back, you will feel yourself gradually making progress. There are three things necessary for this process to unfold in your life: Persistence, Opportunity, and Patience, (one of my clients called this threesome "POP".)
Keep at it. Understanding the cyclical nature of change is important. When you do something helpful to your healthy living, appreciate yourself and your accomplishment. When you do something that you regret ... LEARN from your mistakes. Don't beat yourself up with guilt. Back up. Think about what led to your mistake. Understand what you needed that was missing, or what was too much. Back up and solve the problem that contributed to the mistake. Be persistent. Successes are wonderful. You will also experience setbacks, errors, and mistakes. Every one of these problems is another chance to learn about yourself and your life. Be persistent and keep solving the problems that get in the way of progress. All things in nature change. You can change for the better if you are persistent.
Give yourself the opportunity to improve. Give yourself the chance to learn how to make better choices in your life. Write in your journal, read books, take classes, watch programs that help, talk to helping professionals, talk to helpful friends, etc. Expose yourself to the opportunity to LEARN new ways to cope with old problems.
Often the pain we know seems easier to cope with than the unknown, even if the unknown may be less painful. That is an illusion. Familiarity with pain does not make it comfortable. Even with the scary nature of change and growth, it is worth it. Give yourself the opportunity to grow and learn. You deserve it.
Positive change sometimes comes like a bolt of lightning. It really feels good when that happens. But more often it creeps in slowly, in cycles forward and back. That is why I suggest that you make positive changes that feel good. If you are enjoying yourself as you change, even if the change is slow, who cares? You are having an enjoyable time anyway. It is easier to be patient.
For example, let's say you really want more physical stamina. You want to be able to do more without being out of breath and without sore muscles. If you choose walking through a beautiful neighborhood or park as your method of building stamina, you are likely to enjoy your process of change. Your motivation can be the pleasure of the walks or the relaxing feeling you get when you let go of all your worries and focus on the flowers around you. Even your goal of achieving more physical stamina is enjoyable motivation (non-critical.)
When you are doing something enjoyable with constructive goals, it is easier to be patient. Change is slow. But if you are enjoying yourself anyway, what do you care if it takes a while before you can feel the changes? Be patient with yourself as you work toward your healthy living goals. Enjoy yourself and how you live. Enjoying yourself helps you to be more patient.
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