You have heard it before. The little things count. When it comes to change, there is no more significant statement.
Often we have this insatiable need to make a big, bold move or change hoping that by doing so it would make us happier. Well, in the short term it does, until something else grabs our attention like an everyday problem. Small changes also have this same impact on you.
All change is uncomfortable. The more significant the change is, the bigger the discomfort you experience. That is one of the main reasons people don’t make changes that will undoubtedly improve the quality of their life. The pain is too high compared to the current discomfort of the reality they are experiencing.
Sadly, that is where most and I mean most people will stay in a context of hope — hoping that someday things will be different or that it will all change on its own.
Time to vote yourself off Someday Isle (I’ll)
Cross your arms. Yes, cross your arms.
Now, look at how you have crossed them. Make a note which arm is on top.
Uncross them and cross them again, only reversing the arm order so that the other arm is on top.
Hard? Easy? Uncomfortable?
That is the uncomfortableness of making a change. The first arm crossing is your comfort zone, your natural state. It is where you like to operate from 99% of the time. It is how you do things – MOST OF THE TIME.
I am not asking for you to make a big leap here but to look at micro/small changes. Things like a different route to home or to work once in a while or ordering something on the menu you have never heard before or have never tried.
You see, we are addicted to certainty. We love to keep things in proper order and predictable. Many are so addicted to this that they would rather die than make a change. How do I know this? First, I battled this in the past and many of my clients bring that same experience to the conversations we have.
What do you do?
Make easy small changes that get you just far enough out of your comfort zone and still provide you with an experience that you are not going to stop being you or the world will not collapse. It might even give you more encouragement to make more changes in moving your life in a new direction.
Here are ten changes that are easy to make:
1. Change your hair colour – This is a good one for the ladies (guys too). With four daughters in the house, we had lots of hair colourings, and a new colour will undoubtedly get you noticed. If you’re a man, it will especially get you noticed! Try going to work with your daughter’s new hair colour washed through your hair, thinking that the subtle light brown will hide the grey accents. It turned out that the light brown colour was a shade or two darker then I thought and didn’t even match my eyebrows. Yes, I coloured those too! Many of my co-workers had a good laugh over this and I still lived to tell another tale. You won’t die from embarrassment.
2. Time for a shave – Okay this is for the guys (I am not going there). Coming out from behind the beard not only takes years off your looks, but it will also bring a shock to those that have not seen you without for years. I have been doing this every year for Movember (Prostate Cancer, to which I am a survivor). There was a long spell of 13 years and several grand-kids where I finally had enough of it and shaved it off. I had to introduce myself to my G-Kids again.
3. Say Yes to Dressing for Success – I am not talking about power suits. It is more about encouraging you to get out of the frumps (yes they are comfortable) and step up the casuals one level. Add a new assertive item to your wardrobe. I love hats, and my comfort zone is wearing ball caps. In my closet is a collection of various others, that when I wear them do give me a sense of a different feeling. When I want to charge up the day, out will come one of them. If you are always wearing the same colours, mix it up!
4. Down at the Car Wash – Yes that is a tune from the past and so are the bugs and dirt on your car. Not too mention the food wrappers and other garbage left on the floor inside. There is nothing better than a clean car, even if it is only for a few weeks. It just feels good to be in and drive a clean car!
5. Gratitude – There has been Much has been written on the power of gratitude. Showing people that you love and care for them is easy and will always enhance a relationship. When was the last time you said to someone, “I appreciate the work that you do?” Try that to the check out clerk next time.
6. You are Sweet Enough – A real quick win in the calorie war is to stop putting sweeteners into your beverages. I remember the time I went straight to black coffee and tea. I was shocked by how good it tasted and now love the various coffees out there. It is an authentic taste.
7. You don’t buy me flowers anymore – Yes, another song. I love music and once tried to evoke a singing day at work. You had to respond to any request by singing a lyric from a song that would match your answer, back to my point here. Fresh flowers are available all year round and for a small investment having fresh flowers in the house or at work will brighten things up. It even gets better when you gift them to someone in a random act of kindness (RAOK).
8. Take a hike – No, not a song lyric. How much better would you feel if you stopped one bus stop earlier and walked the rest of the way to work? Not only do you get a little exercise, but it also stimulates the brain for brainstorming ideas. I do this often, not only to clear the head but to allow the muse in for new ideas. Make sure you make a note or record that idea before getting to your destination because if your anything like me it is gone when I hit the office door!
9. What mess?– Yes, a messy workspace might mean you are working hard for the eyes of your boss but it’s not very effective. Time wasters are everywhere and adding looking for a paper you placed two days ago under a pile of unrelatable stuff or looking for a paper clip hidden somewhere is just killing productivity. It also stops the flow. I know I have a clutter when I am moving and grooving through an assignment, but every once in a while I have to take a break and put order back into the insaneness. If you can’t do it at the end of the day, try doing just before you leave for the weekend. When you get back, rather than looking at the returning mess and workload, at least it will be a fresh start.
10. Copy that – My cell phone is everything. I take notes with it, photograph and even scan documents and not to mention making the odd phone call with it. If I am reading a magazine or newspaper and something catches my eye, take a photo of it (or scan it if you want it in a PDF format. Lots of free apps do that). Many times I will see something that applies to a friend or colleague and I will send it to them. It shows you are thinking about them and their needs as well as yours. I also do this with web links and online articles.
There you have it. Ten little changes that you can do that are simple and will have a more considerable impact on you. Yes, it will bring a little attention to you and that’s okay. You might even get some questioning or the odd dig but that’s okay too. Remember, most people do not like change and when they see someone making an effort to get out of the pack, they will try and bring them back in. Nobody likes an outlier too much.
You are not the pack – you are the leader of the pack, and that my friend is a song lyric!
With lots of love,
You are going to hit obstacles. The moment you take a stand to do something outside your comfort zone all hell will break loose. To me, it sometimes feels like the universe is not on my side forcing or holding me back. DANGER – DANGER, do not enter here; you might CHANGE.
When you realize that it is just the way life is, you learn just to side step the obstacle (9 times out of 10, it’s you) and carry on.
RICK RUPPENTHAL is a professional Personal and Leadership Transformational Coach and a Certified Change Practitioner. As a retired paramedic of 30 years, Rick has held positions in leadership, education, as a coach and a mentor. Through those experiences, understanding, and adaptability, Rick has dedicated his life to a continual journey of self-discovery, adventure, and guiding others on their own journey of being their best self.
Coaching can be powerful for managing change. Together and with my support anything is possible.