The Courage to Change

Reality television is, well, a reality. If you visit Wikipedia’s Makeover Reality Series page, there are 39 entries. While not a fan of most reality shows, I appreciate those that focus on how we can transform ourselves, even if I don’t agree with all the actual ideas shared. If you’re like me, when you watch an episode of What not to Wear, you get inspired to get rid of the stuff in your own closet that may have been described as unflattering.  But do we really need a television show to change our shirt? Or to start exercising?  Or eat a new snack?

When we decide do something different, it not only impacts us, it impacts the people in our lives, too.

race-2090184_640If you are in a relationship with someone and you love sitting on the couch watching movies, and all of a sudden one of you wants to train for a marathon, how you spend your time shifts.

If you like to go out to eat and experience new restaurants, and one of you decides you don’t like to go out to eat anymore, what will you do together in lieu of that activity?

How did it get so complicated? Why do so many people want to go negative and share it in social media? What if the sharing was required to be at least 50% positive? What if we saw someone change and curiosity led our reaction, not judgment?

Here are three simple and meaningful things we can all do to be kinder, more welcoming of change, and less judge-y of ourselves and those around us:

  1. Give yourself permission to be happy. This is a strange world we live in. Don’t let smilies-1607163_640that stop you from finding a smile and sharing a kind word. Be nice to people and don’t judge others for their decisions to live as they wish, as long as they are not hurting someone else.
  2. Have courage to do something in a new way. Others will always have an opinion. If you do something different than you’ve done before, I feel like it’s natural for people to be curious. That’s not necessarily a judgment or a worry that you are wrong to eat better, exercise, or go to bed earlier. It’s a chance for you to be proud of your decision to look after yourself, and perhaps inspire others through being a role model. You don’t need to be their teacher or judge them. Just do your thang. And let them see you thrive. Maybe they’ll be inspired to do the same themselves.
  3. Have a conversation. If you want to try new things that you know people in your life don’t currently do, talk to them, share your “why”, and see if they want to join you and if not, give them the chance to support you. And if it’s a super big change, we-2078025_640talk to your doctor or other appropriate professional for guidance.

We only get one chance at all of this and I think that it’s never, ever too late to try a new route, think a new thought, or change how your days go. 
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I’m a dietitian. Not a doctor. Not a behavior specialist. It’s my job to help inform thinking, listen to what people say and do, and help shift lifestyle behaviors/food choices to those that better support individual health goals and organizational wellbeing. This requires collaboration with my diverse colleagues because we can’t do this alone personally or professionally.  That’s the spirit in which I think about this and share this with you.