It’s no secret that when we decide we want to see a change, that we want that change to happen quickly.
Whether we want to see our children change one particularly annoying bit of behavior or if we want to see ourselves make better food choices or develop a discipline around exercise or finances.
We want to drop 5-10 lbs a week to hit our goal weight. We want to get out of debt immediately. We want to learn Cantonese in one trip to the store listening to the newly purchased language CDs.
The thing hidden in our approach to change is that we want to make the change in our disciplines and habits for a short period of time in order to achieve a goal.
Once we hit the goal, we plan on (consciously or subconsciously) returning to our old rascally ways.
As most of us over 30 know, such an approach seldom wins lasting change. We’ll drop 20 pounds in 3 months to hit a goal, then slowly slip back into old habits. Pick your own personal change of choice.
I’m as bad about this as anybody. Just check out my Couch to Cave Challenge. I dropped about 10 pounds that month. I gained 18 over the remainder of the year.
Right now, if you check my Instagram feed, you’ll see I’m trying to eat in a similar fashion. This time, though, I’m not giving myself an end point. I’m not doing this for 30 days. I’ve made a decision that I need to eat a sort of paleo-based food program (not a diet) 95% of the time in order to maintain my weight, have energy, and decrease some of my allergy and gut symptoms.
It’s not a challenge or a quick fix or a ‘cleanse’. It’s a lifestyle.
An endpoint when I no longer have to worry about eating well isn’t the goal.
The goal, rather, is a slow, progressive improvement of health from now until I die when I’m 102.
Slow and steady wins every time.
Even if we’re talking about parenting our children, our own attitudes or anger issues, and so forth. Approaching each issue a change of heart, a commitment to a new behavior, a steady stream of grace and discipline, a long-game view, and consistency will always win out over a quick fix.
I can’t quote you a scientific study on the deal, but I think you know I’m right.