Today is day 3 of my wellbeing campaign. Most people start their ‘new year’s resolutions’ in January – I find February a much easier month to begin as many people have given up on their fitness campaign by then and its actually possible to find a parking space at the gym and get on some equipment. After 2 days in an airless and windowless gym battling with the treadmill I decide that an outdoor swim followed by a warm soak in the jacuzzi is exactly what I need.
And therein lies the challenge…. Whilst swimming outside in February (admittedly it’s a heated pool) is certainly exhilarating and almost enjoyable by length 10, there is a 30 metre ‘walk’ in the cold to get to the pool. And this is where I almost lost my nerve…
As either staying in a warm shower or heading straight for the Jacuzzi seemed far more enticing as I approached the door. I am reminded of how difficult it can be to break out from that which is comfortable.
Last week I was working with a senior leadership team and we were exploring how to build a high performing team. We finished our team day with a look at Wellbeing, a cornerstone of their strategy. We looked at how to be at our best both now and in the future. One of the key insights was that it’s common sense what we need to do. The challenge is, it isn’t common action. In my experience, this is where most people struggle to make any lasting change. We get stuck – we stay with what’s comfortable.
Over the year I’ve tried many strategies to make a change. One of my favourites being to ‘reward’ myself when I have achieved something (Chocolate and Champagne being my favourites, not always synonymous with Wellbeing though). Other rewards, are to have an inspiring conversation with someone or treat myself to a book I’ve been longing to read.
I’ve also tried, and it does work, to adopt a different mindset to make the change more appealing. Only recently I discovered that whilst ‘going to bed early’ is not very inspiring (even boring) having a ‘reverse lie in’ seems much more decadent and appealing.
So, as I approach the door to the outside, steam rising off the pool 30 metres away I remember Lao Tzu’s famous quote that ‘a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step’. And with this piece of inspiration, I fling open the door, run and jump in the pool. 30 minutes later I’ve had the most refreshing swim, powered through fictitious oceans, solved a few niggles and thought about writing this blog.
Energised and inspired; it would have been a shame if I’d opted for the comfortable. Thank you, Lao Tzu, for your words of wisdom.