(Health Secrets Newsletter) Since 1970 we’ve been watching Santa Claus is Coming to Town and singing this song:
“Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking cross the floor
Put one foot in front of the other
And soon you’ll be walking out the door.”
I find it so fascinating the number of times age-old wisdom is hidden in children’s books, music and movies. And the wisdom in this song is an example of the meaningful messages we have gifted to our youth through these often overlooked avenues.
As adults we struggle with changing behaviors and behavior patterns we’ve established over the years that don’t serve us. These habits can range from a mild irritant to our physical and emotional health to one that is downright fatal. Knowing that habits we harbor are dangerous to our overall well-being still doesn’t function as a deterrent for many of us.
What about these behaviors is so ingrained that we find them too overwhelming to change or in some cases we deem them impossible to change and accept them as part of our “genetics”? Habits are actions we carry out in an automatic way, without giving them any thought.
Since habits become automatic, it’s important to begin to recognize the patterns and make a consciousdecision to change behaviors that are not working in our favor. Many times we begin the change process by believing it is an “all or nothing” kind of thing. Whether we are all in or not at all. I’d like to challenge this way of thinking as it eliminates possibilities. Instead of all or nothing, put one foot in front of the other and begin with making small changes that easily integrate with your lifestyle. Changing lifestyle is a process. We look for progress, not perfection. Don’t underestimate the power of small changes as they pave the way to powerful results.
You didn’t get to where you are overnight, and the process to reverse your habits doesn’t happen overnight. Many times these patterns have been in your life for years and even decades. The process begins with recognizing you have something you want to transform, then acknowledging that you have the determination and power to change the behavior. From there the next step is the gentle forgiveness of yourself for harboring an unhealthy habit. You must do with love and kindness toward yourself. And finally, you replace the unwanted behavior with a new life-affirming behavior that quickly becomes your new way of honoring your body, mind and soul.
Replace one habit at a time, recognizing that you may take a step backwards every now and then. Keep your focus on the way you want to live, the life-enhancing behavior, and make an effort to rewrite the pathways of your brain so this becomes the way you function now. Face yourself in the direction you want to move and put one foot in front of the other.
If you take one step at a time, heading in the direction you want to move, you will eventually get there. Maybe not as fast a furiously as you would like, but you will eventually pave the way to new habits by taking one step in the right directions. Even if you take three steps in the right direction and one step backwards, you are still making progress. It’s about progress, not perfection.
They say it takes 21 days of continuously performing a new behavior to make it a habit. Sometimes it takes less time, sometimes more. You must be persistent, consistent, and stand in your power for change to take place. The one thing I do know for sure is “You never will get there you’re going if you never get up on your feet. Put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking cross the floor.”