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All change occurs from the inside out

Over the last few articles, we have considered:

  • What you look for is what you find
  • Experience that is identified, evaluated and applied is the best teacher
  • What gets rewarded gets repeated and what is tolerated also gets repeated

If you are anything like me, you are now getting to the point where you have a list of things that you'd like to change. And given that we are coming up on the New Year, you may have quite a list of things that you would put in the category of “New Year’s Resolutions.”

No matter what you call it, the intentions are all similar. We are looking for something to change, preferably for the better. You want to learn a new skill, get healthier, get organized – whatever it turns out to be, these all fall under that category of changes. 

What I have learned about changes over the years is that they can come from external or internal sources. External sources are what other people or organizations tell us to do. My wife has quite a few changes she would like me to make. Just ask her! These changes may have outstanding merits if implemented. But they are hard.

On the other hand, there are the changes that I want to make in myself. These changes typically get a higher priority on the list of things to do, but they don’t always get done.

All change happens from the inside out. That is where it starts.

I teach a weekly class and one of the riddles I l ask the class goes like this: There were five frogs on a log. One decides to jump. How many frogs are on the log?

Knowing there must be a catch, the first answer will almost always be "four"? (With a question mark.)

The answer is five. Just because the frog decides to jump doesn’t mean it will. There are a lot of people in this world just like this frog. They have decided that they want/need/deserve a change, but they just haven’t jumped yet. 

You see, there is a step beyond the decision: making up your mind. 

It has been said that there is no force more powerful than a made-up mind. I agree. 

In 2013, I was part of a fitness program and the goal was to get 10,000 steps each day. That sounded like a lot of steps. Everyone received a pedometer. I wore it for a few days, only on a rare occasion would I get more than 3,000 steps in a single day.  Then an opportunity arose. I was going to be a panelist at an education session being held at the San Diego Convention Center. Now I had heard of this building before, and I assumed that it would be easy to get 10,000 steps navigating this giant building. That morning, I attached my pedometer to my belt and headed into the convention center. At the end of the day, I went to remove my pedometer and bask in the glory of all of my activity only to find that I had lost the pedometer! I took that as a sign not to care about my fitness and activity, and I surrendered the year.

The next year, the fitness program was continued and we were all issued new activity trackers and put on teams. Shortly after I received the new tracker, I had a vacation scheduled to Walt Disney World in Florida. I wore my pedometer around the parks, and you know what? I was able to crush 10,000 steps in a day by being a bit more intentional with my steps. I ended up in the top three of my team for steps for the year. The next year I improved my activity yet again, but I would have the occasional day with fewer than 10,000 steps. Then, in late 2016, I made up my mind. I would get 10,000 steps every day. And it happened. Every day. Even on the day I had surgery for a kidney stone, I got in 10,000 steps. Five years later, I still hit the goal. 

This is one of the biggest learnings I can share with you. When you make up your mind, you find ways to make things happen. You figure out ways to get whatever it is you intend to do done. Since that time, I have seen it happen again and again to others around me. My son made up his mind and dropped over 100 pounds, going from 320 to 210 pounds in one year. 

I wish I could tell you that there is something superhuman about it. There isn't. It is simply the step beyond making the decision. 

What have you made your mind up about? What do you need to make your mind up about? Who will benefit from your making up your mind? 

Change happens from the inside out and is most powerful when we make up our minds.

Until next time -

Jesse McCullough, PharmD

Connect with Jesse on LinkedIn


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