By Joeel A. Rivera, M.Ed.
Not sure you’re ready for change? … or to take the leap to follow a different path?… or to change what feels comfortable? No worries, I will share a secret that we all know but we dislike to hear, and that is:
Change is inevitable and happens whether we like it or not.
But there’s good news! Most of the changes that are constantly happening are small and not so scary. They’re easy to miss because we are distracted and because they happen quietly.
We often do not see the small, incremental changes that gradually transform our reality—a year or 5 years later.
These small changes can work against us, such as slow weight gain. Even 2 pounds a year adds up over 20 years. But these small changes can work in our favor if we make them intentionally, such as practicing a new skill that leads to expertise.
If major changes hit us, often because of things we feel we cannot control, than we can see the changes. They’re obvious. We usually don’t like it, and this is why we resist change. But, what happens when we find ourselves living a reality that we do not want, or wanting to go for a dream or follow our true calling and don’t know how? Large changes are needed, but we find ourselves afraid to make a move. We find ourselves blaming others or situations for feeling stuck. We often overlook that small, daily decisions and changes we did NOT make that slowly lead us to the unwanted situation we find ourselves in. We create our own reality.
One of the best ways to see little changes that make a big difference is by observing children. For example, if you have a child and you see them every day, you may not notice them changing, however if their grandparents come over and they have not seen them in a year they’re likely to point out how different or “big” your child looks or how their personality has changed. You may have even experience this yourself after seeing someone that you have not seen for some time, or even after looking at a picture of your child from a year ago.
The reason that noticing these minor changes is important is because they are the ones that will create your long term reality, even more than major changes will. It is the small changes that will determine if 5 years from now you will have created a quantum leap towards what you want or towards what you don’t want. For example, if you want to improve your health, what baby step can you take today? Could you go for a ten minute walk or eat an apple? They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away—research has actually proven that eating an apple a day has tremendous health benefits—but how many people eat one?
Many people claim that even though they eat junk food every day, they’re without health problems. Yet, they don’t realize the long-term impact. Later, when they have major health issues they may blame it on a couple of major things instead of seeing how the accumulation of minor things was actually what created their reality. I am a perfect example of this. After spending years eating the wrong things, neglecting my sleep, and not taking care of my body, one day my body said, “nope, won’t do it anymore” and forced me to make some major changes all at once. However, I recognize that it was the small changes I had not made that lead to the big changes that I had to make. But it has been the minor changes that I have made since that time, with my health and in other areas of my life, that have given me a new lease on life.
Little changes can make a big difference in all areas of life: health, finances, career, family, relationships and so on.
So, ask yourself, “what minor changes can I make today that will create the tomorrow that I want?” One thing that I suggest is to take some time to reflect on this and write it down. What are you willing to do to invest in your future? Write down different categories like family, health, finances, relationship, and any other things that you can think of.
Below are several examples of small changes I committed to in my own life that may serve to inspire ideas for change within your life:
At some point many years ago I committed to calling my dad every day, even if it’s just for five minutes. I will tell you that I feel like it is the best small investment of time I could spend because if something was to happen to him I know that I appreciated that time with him, getting to know him now more than ever. I committed to walking every day and eating an apple a day. I committed to telling my wife I love her more than once a day, and to truly listening to my daughter when she gets home from school as she tells me about her day. I committed to listening to something inspiration or educational every day, working on some aspects of my business growth every day, and reviewing what I am grateful for as I go to sleep at the end of the day. These are just small things, but they help me grow and create a more fulfilling, joy-filled, healthy life.
The beauty of little, positive changes is that they lead to larger blessings down the road. For example, my marriage is better than I could have ever imagined, I have the freedom and flexibility to create my life, I know my daughter at a deeper level, and my health is better than it has been for years. Where will I be in five years? I am not sure, but I do know that it will be even better than now because I will continue to find small things that I can add to my tool box of daily habits. So, ask yourself, “am I willing to start with something as simple as an apple a day or a short walk?” If you’re not, that’s okay, your Higher Self will guide you to bigger and bigger changes, whether they happen in a way that you want or not.
You can continue to feel like a victim of change, or you can take the wheel and drive the change that is inevitable in your life in the direction of your dreams, through little changes that will make all the difference.
Joeel A Rivera, M.Ed., is a visionary, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker. From an early age, Joeel faced adversity, including immigrating to the United States, failing his freshman year of college, losing his brother, and being in a nearly fatal car accident. These experiences inspired him to return to college, where he earned a Master’s Degree in Education and is currently completing his dissertation for his Ph.D. in Psychology, with an emphasis on happiness. Joeel opened a non-profit teen center in honor of his brother and developed curriculums for the Juvenile Justice System. In almost a decade, Joeel has reached over ten thousand people as an educator, entrepreneur, speaker, and consultant. Visit www.ignitelife.me.