The next stage of change is action. It’s the step we are tempted to jump to when we are feeling all inspired and sincere. However, our adrenalin for change has a short attention span! Pre-contemplation, contemplation, and determination are necessary intermediary steps.
It’s in those steps where we can settle down and figure out what action best fits our desire for change. I did not start going to fit camp in order to improve my swimming skills. We don’t swim in fit camp. I don’t go to fit camp to become more zen-like, whatever that means. I go to fit camp to gain strength, stamina and flexibility. I chose fit camp after six months of illness left me weak and stiff. I contemplated, researched, and determined before I showed up that first Wednesday morning to get whipped into shape.
Action is often the stage that we get most excited about until we actually have to practice it. Frankly, I like the idea of being strong more than I like practicing my sumo deadlifts. But this is what change involves - doing things that don’t come natural. If they did, they probably wouldn’t be something we need to practice or gather a support system to encourage us.
I’ve learned from my instructor that meaningful change is more marathon than sprint. She isn’t happy if I come in complaining of being so sore I can hardly move. She prefers that we progress incrementally so that we don’t get sidetracked by injury or disheartened by discomfort. I appreciate the way she thinks.
I’ve noticed that people who have managed to make long term meaningful changes in their lives often practice slow, steady, consistent steps toward their goal. The folks that burst onto the scene like shining stars promising the moon to others often fail to launch. Today, what is one small sustainable change step you can take?