Finding the Inspiration to Make a Lasting Change

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Inspiration is all around us, we just have to tune in to it. Tuning in is hard work, especially when it is so easy to just remain complacent, or dissatisfied, with the status quo. The good news is that for as hard as it is to challenge ourselves to see the good, the rewards far outweigh the sacrifice.

Inspiration can be found in something as simple as a spring breeze, or a welcome change in the weather, if only for a day. Books, magazines, TV shows, movies, strangers on the street, a cozy cup of tea, and a beautiful photo all hold within them the seed of inspiration that has the power to change our lives. We just have to open our eyes, our minds, and our hearts to receive their messages.

Change is hard. It is challenging to break out of the mold we always were told we fit, whether by others, ourselves, or both. Writing and eventually posting this, for me, is my first step in overcoming a huge force of inertia in my life that I have been drowning in for years. We come to a point on life’s journey where it is too painful to continue on the path that does not lead to our happiness and our dreams, and that pain outweighs the brick wall we have to fight through every time we choose to take another tiny step, and then another, and then another. We have to take the first step, however tiny, in order to get to the other side.

There are moments in life when we are suddenly hit with a realization that our current situation is not working, and we need to move on. The moment that holds an absolute decision to change is golden. Although these moments are rare, they are special and unique to each of us.

The inspiration to make a decision for permanent change can just suddenly appear in our lives. I have experienced long periods of time trying to figure out what to do, how to improve my situation, or how to get out of a situation in my life that I am not happy with. Without fail, the moment I truly believe this is the time I will stick to it, I just know.

It is hard to explain. Because there always have been (for me) many, many moments preceding that moment of decided change in which I believed this was the time, too. I would wake up one day, go for a walk, and say to myself “okay, today is the first day of the rest of my life. I am going to commit to writing every single free moment until I have a best-selling book. Nothing will stand in my way.” Then the next morning, I would oversleep my alarm, leaving no time to write in the precious space of time I had to myself before starting the work day of tending to the needs of so many others.

Or the diet example I am sure many people can relate to. We tell ourselves “tomorrow I am going to eat better, exercise more,” only to end up eating a doughnut in the office break room around 2 PM, feeling bad about ourselves and resigned to being overweight and slightly less or a lot less happy, whichever the case may be, for the rest of our lives. Repeat cycle.

But when the current circumstance finally and mercifully becomes unreasonable to us, that spark of motivation has a fighting chance. The best part about taking steps in the right direction is that we don’t have to be perfect. It is okay to slip up and eat a cookie on a diet, and to expect yourself not to is actually increasing the risk for failure. The key to sticking with a decision to make a permanent life change is deciding that nothing will take us completely off the path.

If you succeed in eating exactly as planned on the diet from Monday to Wednesday, and then have a bad day Thursday and eat 6 cookies, all you can do is move forward. The best thing to do is to later reflect on why you ate the six cookies, in a nonjudging way. This way, you are helping yourself to be better prepared to deal with whatever situation triggered the slip up in the future. You may not be able to identify any one specific trigger or reason, and that is okay too.

Most important component: do not let the slip up set you back any further. Admit that one slip up will not spell failure. Forgive yourself for your mistakes, and move forward in the path towards your dreams.

photo credit: TheSaval

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