For years, I have been telling myself that I needed to change my eating habits. It was on my mind every time I couldn’t get into the clothes I loved and every time I saw a picture of myself.
It was easy to live in denial as long as I didn’t have to see what I really looked like. I avoided dressing rooms and any other full length mirrors.
Living in denial kept me from having to take action, because I knew as soon as I really saw a problem, I would be accountable to myself to make some changes.
But even though I avoided seeing the damage, the damage caught up with me in the form of the worst migraine headache of my life. I knew there was a correlation between my eating habits and the level of pain I was experiencing. I had to make a change.
The denial was a major problem. Another was thinking I would never really be able to be successful with such a major change.
Isn’t that a fear we all often have? We think, “I won’t be able to do it. And if I try, and don’t finish what I started, people around me might think I’m a failure.” Or even worse, we might think, “I’ll feel like a failure to myself.”
And then the hope of making a change dies. For fear of failure.
But what is failure? Is it really an inability to complete what we start? Or is it a lack of effort to initiate change?
I think it’s the latter.
I tried many times to change the way I ate. I tried a few commercial diets, I tried doing it on my own. A few of them worked for me, but they didn’t yielded long-term success. Was I a failure? No! I simply learned what didn’t work for me.
Last week, I found a new plan that I believed in. I was still apprehensive about it, and it took me a few days to make the plunge.
Even though I knew it would work, I was still afraid? Why? Because I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to tough it out or even make it through the first day.
But I did make it through the first day. And after the first day, I knew I would be able to make it through the second day. And now, I am through my first week. And I know if I made it this week, I can make it next week, too.
How often do we hinder real, positive change in our lives because we deny there is a problem? And how often do we recognize a problem but think we will forever label ourselves failures if we don’t make the change on the first attempt?
My challenge to myself and to all of us today is to take the first step, recognizing that is the hardest step. But by taking the first one, we will know we can take the second one, and the third one, and all of the steps we need to make it to our goal, whatever that goal might be.
Acknowledge where you are. “Ok, this is me. For the moment.”
See the goal. “That’s where I want to be. I can get there.”
And make the first step. “To get there, I have to take it one step at a time.”
What is your goal? Do you want to start a new business? Do you want to apply to college? Whatever it is, take the first step remembering that we only experience failure when we don’t try.
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