Slow Boil

Ripping off a bandaid hurts like the dickens. Jumping into a cold pool takes your breath away. Turning on the radio after your sibling unknowingly cranked the volume to max will probably make you feel like you’ve shattered your ear drums. Change can be abrasive and uncomfortable; it can make you seek the familiarity of home and the solace of silence…but what about slow change, the kind you don’t take note of upfront? What about the kind of change that’s more like a slow boil that melts your skin before you even realize what’s going on?

This gradual transition is, I think, how we find ourselves in some of life’s sticky situations. I’ll give you an example: once upon a time, I was training to become a professional bodybuilder. When I stopped drinking alcohol completely for training purposes was when I realized how often I had been drinking. Almost every day, even if only a beer with dinner. I was like, holy cow, when did this start? I couldn’t nail down exactly when that was, it just slowly advanced to that frequency over time.

Now, I’m not saying all gradual change is bad – far from it. I’m just saying slow changes are the ones you have to watch out for. Encountering small changes everyday are a lot more likely to be accepted as minor discomforts, and one can allow themselves to reside in a less than desirable situation just because it doesn’t feel like that big of a deal.

But I’m not stuck in a bad situation; I’m not slowly developing any bad habits, so why should I care?

Because you can harness this power for your benefit. I’ll explain.

Let’s say there is a change you would like to incorporate into your everyday life. Sure, you can rip the cord, jump the cliff, nail it down by just going in with both feet, and if your constitution is in a state to handle this, by all means, jump in, get wet. BUT, if the thought of said change makes you want to rip out your hair, hide in a corner, or punch a hole in a wall, maybe you should consider a different approach. By being methodical, you can incorporate said habits into your day a little bit at a time. Substituting in one meat-free meal a day is easier than going vegetarian cold turkey. (Pun intended.) After a little while, maybe you start swapping two meals a day, opting for the veggie option. A couple/few weeks later, when you just have one more meat oriented meal a day left to cut out, well, it should be a lot easier to finally go vegetarian.

What’s the point of this? I don’t want to be a vegetarian.

The point is that you can apply this method to most things. It’s an affective way to be gentle on yourself while continuing to make life changes which improve your experience. I see so much, “Do X everyday to see Y result,” and, “If you want to be like X, then you have to do Y.” I feel like there is a lot of propaganda (not speaking politically, here) going around, because so many people out there are trying to sell their advice, sell the big secret that helped them. It’s easy to get caught up in the momentum and forget why they wanted to share their advice in the first place – and, I believe with most, it starts with the inspiration to help people.

I share my random thoughts and ramblings, because I see some who are held back by these ideas going around; they think if they want to reach a certain end-goal, there is a certain way it must be done, and some adhere themselves to so rigid a schedule that they burn out before they even really had a chance. It’s not bad to start by writing a couple hundred words a day. If you try to start with a thousand words, seven day a week, you may be staring at the computer screen for hours as if it’s your enemy. That’s not good for natural flow, and it’s likely to end up influencing your creation.

This is in no way an excuse to be lazy. If you stop your forward momentum, you will only be holding yourself back, so this method does require an amount of dedication and self-discipline. Once you become ‘comfortable’ with the new part of your schedule, that usually means it’s time to kick it up a notch. Again, I’m not saying this is a fix all, I’m not saying this is the only approach – I’m simply suggesting a way in which you can incorporate new habits if you are having a hard time doing so otherwise. Life is too long and hard for you to chastise yourself over a positive attempt towards progress. If you’re trying, and if you KEEP trying, we’ll, what else can you really expect?

That is all for today. I hope you have an amazing weekend.

As always, with love,

WB

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