Tuesday morning I went to the DMV to renew an expired license. While inching my way through the hour-long line it dawned on me that I might have to take a new license picture. The panic set in because I didn’t have a stitch of makeup on. When I made it to the front I was informed of the bad news.
I immediately made a b-line to the bathroom to apply some lipstick and mess with my hair. After my number was called (yes, more waiting) I was second in line to another woman. After her picture was taken the DMV employee looked at the screen and said, “Do you EVER take a bad picture?” When she took my picture she made a point to tell me to smile. After glancing at it she said, “Everyone looks better with a smile.”
I was mad at myself. Not because I’ll have to hide my license from everyone I know but because I’m still doing this stuff – putting off important tasks and basically being disorganized. It got me thinking about something I always come back to: Do I want my kids to follow in my footsteps? When they are adults will they be at the DMV renewing an expired license? Or worse?
What’s your weakness?
Last week I wrote about guilt-free ways to become a more positive food role model. If you struggle with eating well, managing your weight or preparing food you may feel the same way I felt after leaving the DMV. You don’t want your kids to acquire the same struggles but how do you change?
I feel like we spend so much of our lives tripping over our weaknesses, that we delay getting to the juicy part of living. It seems every time I’m almost there something holds me back, like wasting time at the DMV, losing my keys or searching the house for that important document.
A different outlook
When I stop beating myself up for a moment I realize that I’ve already made some changes. I sort of have a file system at home and do know where some things are. And compared to 10 years ago, I’m much better (I have a good story about my car getting impounded).
I know that guilting myself into making a temporary change won’t work so I remind myself to change my outlook instead. I acknowledge how more smoothly my daily life is when I’m organized and take the time to do time-consuming tasks. And I believe my family benefits as well.
So instead of “shoulding” yourself to change consider looking at the problem from a different angle. What are the benefits of changing? If you’ve been a chronic dieter how will you feel to finally be free of the constraints? If you don’t know how to cook think how gratifying it will be to prepare and enjoy meals for your family.
Whatever it is you’ve been struggling with find some reasons you want to conquer it – and decide those reasons for yourself and not because it’s something your doctor, spouse or even I want you to do.
How to change
Of course part of the problem with change is wanting for it to happen overnight. The old me would’ve run home from the DMV, gone through the mail, bought fancy organizing equipment and vowed never to do something like this again. But then 2 weeks later the mail would be piled up and I’d be back at square one.
I recently attended a class that reminded me of the most effective way to change. It’s called “continuous improvement” and it’s not about making a dramatic change. Instead, it’s about doing small, everyday things that eventually lead to big results. But the key is to make the changes consistently, not chaotically. The secret is to always be on the lookout for the little things you can do to get to your goal.
So, I’m looking for pockets of time at home to put away stuff and go through the mail. I even bought a (cheap) organizer to write important dates down. And every time I look at my license I’ll be reminded of the consequences of living a disorganized life.
This site will help you make small changes in the area of food, weight management and nutrition. If there’s something you need from me, or would like to see, let me know. From my experience, conquering lifelong problems is extremely liberating. And knowing your kids have escaped from the same struggle is the best reward.
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