My brother-in-law, Robert, recently started walking for 30 minutes every day. Put into context, this is really amazing. Robert is in his 50’s and the only exercise I have known him to do is to press the accelerator of his Mini during an autocross race. He has cool interests along with autocross—beer making, movie viewing, computer games– but none of them involves moving under his own power. His vocation is computer programming, a job that keeps him glued to a chair more than almost any profession. But he said, “I decided to limit my sedentary lifestyle to 23 ½ hours per day” and then, quite simply, he did it. He walks 30 minutes every day with a buddy at work; no small feat in the Charleston, South Carolina heat in the summertime!
I asked Robert if he notices any difference now that he does this walking. He responded, “yeah, now I have this tan on my arms!” Sure enough, his once white-flour arms are now closer to the color of wheat flour. He also says that he just feels good about doing it. He’s sold on the health benefits without a need to lose weight or any health crisis driving him. Pretty impressive, yes? How in the world did he do it? Just decide and then make this change?
Some things I observe about Robert’s change that could help us all:
- He has made the change with a friend. Huge. Doing it with someone else helps us all on our worst days stick with a commitment that feels awful to keep.
- He saw a video that was compelling to him. For Robert, it was a very compelling one well worth viewing. CLICK HERE to see it on YouTube. But for any of us, there needs to be a message or an invitation that compels us.
- It seems that Robert was open and ready. We all hear messages, but are we open to really listening? Are we open to getting tense about the lack of congruence in our lives between our values and our actions? Are we open to doing something inconvenient or uncomfortable?
Perhaps some of you reading this are aware of a tug towards a life change that you haven’t yet made. What is the tension for you? Where is there incongruence that, in some way, you want to make congruent? Robert’s change surprised me because it was just so straightforward and simple. He just did it. Granted, the video is very compelling that precipitated the change, but so are the invitations to change that the rest of us have heard, considered, and dismissed lately. Is there something that you really could just change like Robert? What makes change so hard for you?