How to Make Changing Easier?

Megrette Fletcher M.Ed., RDN, CDCES

This 1,000-year-old question has been asked by great poets like Rumi, who wrote, “Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

After working in healthcare for 30 years, I have come to value the ability to change. I have witnessed firsthand how some people seem able to change and roll with the punches while others struggle. This has nourished my curiosity and helped me craft a four-word approach to change which I would love to describe to you at the end of this article. Yet, before you learn how to change, it is helpful to clarify what change is and what it isn’t.

Just Do It

Many people assume change is simple, maybe it’s a lack of knowledge, or it just requires the mental decision to ‘just do it’. Yet, change is far more complex than the advertising slogans seem to suggest.

The first point of clarification is the actual change you witness is the result of change, but it isn’t the change itself. To put it bluntly, it is an outcome. Regardless, if you are watching your favorite basketball player sink a three-pointer, a beloved chef created an amazing meal, or seeing your blood sugar in target, these are the outcomes of the many preceding factors. Since the change is what you wanted, it makes sense you forget to be curious about the conditions that supported the resulting outcome.

Second, change isn’t a straight line. While the concept of change is often presented in a simplistic faction, the process of change is messy and frustrating! The mess and frustrations are often edited out of the social media feeds but they are a necessary part of the change process because they tell you what isn’t working.

Third, changing isn’t always fun, especially if you are being forced to change. If you were recently diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, the changes you are being asked to make feel heavy because you value your health. There may also be a sense of urgency, and fear after being diagnosed with elevated blood sugar which creates a mental fog, making it hard to know what to do next. When you put it all together, you may discover you feel a sense of obligation to manage your blood sugar, which can awaken your inner teenager! (This is never good!). So, what do you do?

Breathe. While it doesn’t solve anything, breathing can help you collect your thoughts and realize you are always changing! Seeing change as a continuous process can help you let go of urgency, and start to understand change. To guide you, let’s look at the four-word approach to change that can help you step off the diet or blood sugar rollercoaster! Here they are:

●Discover – Discovery offers an introduction to a topic or concept – in this case, diabetes care.

●Explore – Exploration provides an invitation to learn more about a topic or concept.

●Play – Play affords your chance to play, experiment, and have fun with the information you have just learned.

●Challenge – Here, you can decide if this change is actually going to work for you. By creating small challenges for yourself, you can gain insight, garner understanding, and find direction for lasting change. Of course, once you challenge yourself and learn, you discover something new and are ready to restart the cycle.

Fourth, check-in and pick the word that describes where you are right now. Not what you think you should be, but the word which makes you go, “Yep, that is me.” I am asking you to do this because in the past 20 years when I’ve asked clients to do this, I have come to realize it helps you know what phase you are in. Trust your answer. Now, you have a bit more understanding about change. You have options to discover, explore, play with change, or challenge yourself!

Whatever you decide, is here to support you.

Photo by Pablo Arroyo on Unsplash