Do you feel trapped? Most of us at some point in our lives feel trapped or stuck. It might be in school, our job, our life or even in a body that we feel does not reflect who we really are. I recently had a conversation with someone who is in a position at work that she knows is not right for her but continues to stay because of security. I think she also has some fear around making a plan to do what she really wants to do and then not accomplishing it exactly how she intends. The truth is that the journey of life is not a straight path down the yellow brick road.
If you are unhappy, it’s time to explore why that is and begin to think about change. The mere act of being open to something new leaves you more freedom to explore a new path. I spent 10 years of my career trying to be what I perceived was the “perfect “family doctor. I exhausted myself by doing things I was really good at but did not love. I would make excuses for my moodiness, lack of enthusiasm and frustration by blaming the pace of work or the stress of running my own business. The real truth was I was unhappy because I was not doing what I was meant to do which is teaching and facilitating people as they discover their true potential for health and happiness. It takes more energy to do something you don’t like than something you love. Eventually I was able to see that the box around me was of my own construction. When I had this “aha” moment I realized the tools needed for the escape were already available. So, I created an opportunity to do what I do best.
Change is inevitable. If you think about it, that is comforting. It means that we will almost always have another chance to do something differently. The interesting thing is that change starts with a simple idea, the idea that we can create something new or different. The problem with being a “grown up” sometimes is that we get so focused on the box we have built around ourselves that we can’t look out and see the possibilities around us. The more we focus on what’s wrong, the less attention we have for what’s right.
Let’s be clear, almost all living organisms, including humans are creatures of habit. That usually means that we will continue to do the same things most days. We do this because our primitive “reptilian “brains convince us that routine is safety. This means that when we decide to change everything in our lives at once we may be setting ourselves up for failure. It is not in our nature to make big changes rapidly. So, whether it is starting on a new career path, exercise plan, stopping a bad habit, or trying to eat better and exercise more, making a small change is most likely to keep you on the right track. It is often said that a journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.
So do something small that can lead to something big. Decide not to have that cookie at lunch. Go for a walk around the block before dinner. Don’t supersize your meal. Begin to think about what your dream job or dream life looks like. Eat more vegetables today. Take the stairs. Granted, none of these things by themselves will effect a large change in your life. But once you have success with one step then it is easier to take another. And suddenly, you are on the path to your dreams.