Change is simple, if you really want it

Part of a continuing series related to ideas in my book, “Sustainable You/8 First Steps to Lasting Change in Business and in Life.”

Tell me if you’d agree: Many people who profess a desire to change really want to keep on doing what’s comfortable but have their ill effects removed.

That was certainly true leading up to most of the diets I ever went on. I grudgingly took on curbs on my food choices that I didn’t want, intending to stick with them only as long as I absolutely had to, so that I could then go back to how I preferred it.

I grant that I was a hard case — or more accurately, a super-doughy case, from all the processed food I ate. The worst expression of my preference was sitting in my apartment, door locked, shades down, with enough food to ensure that I wouldn’t have to go out again to get more before I passed out in a sugar- and flour-induced haze. This is not hyperbole.

To complete the story, I’m now maintaining a 155-pound loss for about a quarter century. So where did the impetus come from, to get from there to here? It’s a good question that I’m often asked: What’s the one thing that turned me around?

My firmly held opinion is that there is no “one thing.” For me, and in my observation of others who’ve achieved long-term change, something organic happened after a period of unwitting preparation, and then I was acting differently. Not wholly, by any stretch — change is a process. Every time we change, we are — duh! — changed, and we encounter the next potential change slightly altered. Each shift may be tiny, but they add up.

Having said all that, one important contributor to the ability to change is … wanting to change. Not only wanting to have the bad outcomes of our choices to go away, but wanting the unknowable cornucopia that can come from taking even one step in a direction that’s different from the path you’ve trod.

Author and wellness innovator Michael Prager helps smart companies
make investments in employee wellbeing that pay off in corporate success.
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