As you can see by the glorious transformation of this webpage, superficial change is easy. Easier still if you have someone as brilliant and dedicated as Alisha the “office elf” doing it for you. But this is January, not December! You got the haircut, the glitter eyeliner, the whiter smile. You’re way past the point of superficial tweaks. You want real change, the subcutaneous kind, the stuff resolutions are made of. You want more muscle, less fat, higher grades, lower cholesterol, increased talking, decreased stalking…Whatever it is, you are going for it. Right now. And it’s going to happen. By MLK day.
… But what if it doesn’t?
What if your January finds you lifting weight, but dropping none? What if that high GPA is still MIA after midterms? What if you spend Valentine’s Day with a pair of binoculars and a bottle of Windex, a-gain!
I’ll tell you what. You’ll decide your goals are no longer worth the effort and you’ll quit. Unless, of course, you adopt my new technique (by “my” I mean I stole it from my sister Carly: http://www.balance-the-mother-load.com), which focuses more on the process than the goal.
As an author, I live for the process. To me, writing isn’t about the finished piece, it’s about the time, effort, and occasional joy spent creating it. It’s about the journey, for better and worse. Process, not progress. So I’m really good at this. Check it:
Your goal might be to lose five pounds by February 1st, but what if you only lose two? Most of us would get down on ourselves, thinking there’s something wrong with our metabolisms, willpower, scale, existence. Soon, we’d give up. But if you got rid of the added pressure of the date, you’d be free to focus on what you have accomplished versus what you haven’t. So instead of saying, “I was supposed to lose five pounds but I only lost two,” you could try, “I am in the process of losing five pounds. I’ve already lost two!” That feels better, doesn’t it? Less pressure, more positive. Suddenly that two pounds feels triumphant.
Go on, try it. It works for everything.
I am in the process of increasing my grades. I am in the process of finding the courage to call you. I am in the process of writing a masterpiece. I am in the process of never making resolutions again.
The word “process” reminds me that meaningful change takes time. And that I should expect some bumps along the way. Sometimes I will get lost, other times I will need a rest stop. But I’ll keep moving forward. Chances are I’ll be late. So if you need to move on without me, I understand. Just know that I’ll get there eventually. Quietly. Confidently. Hopefully before 2015.