Changing Your Path to Avoid the Holes

By Marsha Hudnall
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Our first Sustain the ChangeTM retreat for Green Mountain alumnae ended yesterday to rave reviews. Darla, our psychologist, led three days of exploration all focused on helping the women who joined us successfully make changes that matter in their lives, to better take care of themselves. I use the plural of the word change hesitantly because one of Darla’s major points was that to succeed in change, we need not to take on too much. Indeed, a big point we make in our women’s healthy weight loss program is to try to make no more than three changes at any one time. But sometimes even that can be too much. Working to change only one thing at a time, albeit a change that really makes a difference, may really work better for many of us.

Do you balk at the idea of moving so slowly to get what you want?  If so, think about this. How many times have you tried to make radical changes, only to overwhelm yourself? Slow, steady forward movement, one step built on another, can take us at the end of a year to a much different place than where we started that year. Perhaps one of our biggest challenges to doing this is impatience. We want to get to our destination already. But impatience can be one of the biggest holes that lurk in the sidewalk, waiting to derail us from our path.  Indeed, patience is one of the attitudes of mindfulness that help us move more steadily towards our goals.

We’re planning to focus a lot this year on A Weight Lifted on helping readers make successful behavior changes. So we hope you’ll stay tuned and comment, to let us know what you think. I leave you today with this poem by Portia Nelson that is commonly used in self-help programs. Darla shared it at the end of the retreat. It’s where my reference to holes in the sidewalk come from.

Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

I

I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost … I am helpless. It isn’t my fault.

It takes me forever to find a way out.

II

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place. But, it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

III

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in … it’s a habit.

My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

IV

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

V

I walk down another street.

 

What are your holes in the sidewalk?

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