Usually, when someone, myself included, decides they want or need something, they want or need it in that exact same moment. Now. I’m quite sure that this behaviour has not always been the norm. Our predecessors had to plant, nurture and work for an entire season to have the pumpkin to make the puree to enjoy the pumpkin pie. Patience was an actual thing. These days, patience is something we pray for when we are held up by life. We have fast food, fast credit, fast information, fast banking….whatever we can create into an experience of convenience, we create.
I may be the honorary mayor of ‘I Want It Nowville’. I obsessively map out the quickest routes in my car. I race the person next to me in the self-checkout. I get stuck in a bubble of annoyance when someone is holding up my sprint to the end of my current task. I tell my kids about how we used to have to wait for a videotape to rewind before we could start it again (this is after we had to walk to a video store to choose the movie)….and that I had to wait by the radio for my favourite song to come on, sometimes All. Day. Long. This is my version of walking uphill both ways to school. They hear me, but don’t quite get it.
I do love the convenience of our lives. I also think we could live without it…even dare I say, in a happier space. Not only do we miss opportunities to connect to the world and to slow the pace of our racing minds, we also learn to expect results at lightening speed. This includes the results gained by changing our habits or our mindset. We want them now but our minds and bodies are still back where it makes more sense to have to wait for that pumpkin to grow before we gain the benefits of the pumpkin pie. Things take time but our inner speed demon is trying to tell us we can (and should) have it all RIGHT NOW.
So when we sit down and decide we are going to make a lifestyle change, what do many people gravitate towards?
- Before and after pics that show 1 month of ginormous amounts of progress.
- Testimonials that say they lost 10 lbs. in the first week.
- Plans that promise you will feel the best you’ve ever felt within days…as long as you a) spend hundreds or thousands on their product b) give up entire food groups c) join their community all in by raising your right hand and swear you will only believe there is one perfect way to eat and shame those who don’t follow… (ok maybe not so much…or maybe…)
I do this as well. Even now, even after being through so many quick fix fails, I can still get a tingle of excitement in my belly when I read a quick fix marketing blurb. “What!? She has more energy after only 3 days with this?? SIGN ME UP!” …and then I remind myself of pumpkin pies.
I’ve heard many stories over the years of quick fix trials and tribs and the common theme is that in reality, the ‘quick fix’ doesn’t happen for the majority of the population and for those it does, it usually doesn’t last. Why don’t quick fixes just turn into longer fixes? They aren’t built to. They’re usually too expensive, too restrictive, too isolating and too much of a disruption to our regular lives.
Change takes time.
Creating takes work.
To shift habits, mindset and our actions we need to fight the ‘RIGHT NOW’ expectation that runs deep in our lives.
We must monitor every conversation we have with ourselves like we are the damn CIA on the biggest case of our careers. We must be vigilant in our pursuit of a new internal dialogue, finding the words that will lead to our desired actions.
We must keep doing the small things over and over until they add up to big things that will ultimately give us the change we want. Start the journey with the expectation that it may take a while. Make peace with yourself and find your patience. And when a quick fix tempts us to seek the high that instant gratification gives us? Remember the pumpkin pie.