I remember a saying that dates back from my childhood about Carnegie Hall. The saying is more like a question.
“How do you get to Carnegie hall?”
The answer is, “Practice.”
Practice makes perfect, right?
I have been part of a system in my life where I have been practicing almost everything. I practice new ways to eat or sleep. I have practiced new ways to exercise and new ways to change or improve. I have practiced my sales pitch and new methods at work. I have been at the hardest places in life, which is at the wall that we need to push through in order to get to the other side.
Or, for example; my alarm went off this morning at its usual time. I am an early riser. In fact, I’ve always been an early riser—only, I wake up earlier now. Much earlier. I am awake by 3:30 each morning. The alarm goes off and sometimes I get up without an issue. Sometimes my body lacks the drive to get up and go and this becomes a fight between the adult and the child’s mind. This morning was one that my body was tired. My mind was filled with a list of excuses. In fact, I reset my alarm for 5:00 and placed my head back on the pillow. I’m not getting up. That’s it. I’ll do it tomorrow.
The body and the mind always want comfort. I wanted to sleep. I was tired. I have so many thoughts. I have new challenges and new obstacles to overcome. And it’s easy to quit. I can turn around at any time and simply walk away. Who’s going to care. Or, who’s going to stop me? I can quit right now. But quitting is not for me, nor does this honor my hopes or my goals and if I quit, this does not honor my potential or ability.
Put simply, I had to push myself this morning. I had to wake up and get out of bed, which I did, begrudgingly, and I went to the kitchen to drink some water. I took my vitamins. Then I proceeded to the basement where my treadmill awaits—and whether I wanted to or not, I honored my ability to push through the walls of change and come out on the other side.
The process of change is more than simple practice. In order to change, we have to address the different facets of change. We have to start by understanding our personal standards and how or if we need to update them accordingly.
We have been practicing throughout our entire lives. We started out as children. We’ve practiced our ABC’s and our multiplication tables. We practiced for tests and our penmanship. We’ve practiced our personalities. We have been working on perfecting ourselves in one form or another since the day we were born. Whether we practice to better ourselves personally or professionally; our mind is always looking to adapt.
Along the way, we learn to update our standards. To keep this fun and simple, for example, I do not eat the same foods I used to eat when I was younger. I still enjoy a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I still love junk food and the murder burgers I used to eat. I admit to my love for fast food and to some of the worst junk foods that my metabolism was kind enough to allow for. However, I do not eat the way I ate when I was younger. I do not behave the way I did when I was younger either. I have updated my standards. I enjoy different meals. I’ve learned to eat differently. Plus, I honor my body differently by choosing different options at mealtime.
My standards for living have updated as well. I know this because at one point, I was living in a basement apartment. I drove an old beat-up Chevy. My intentions were different and so were my standards. My friends were different. My interpersonal skills were different—the way I treated people was different and the way I allowed myself to be treated was also different. I had different intimidations and challenges at that time. However, had I not decided to update my standards, I’d still be eating microwaved meals, hot pockets, fast food and accepting treatment that would match the person I was when I was younger.
I admit that my changes along the way were uncomfortable. Change in itself is awkward because change is unusual. This goes against the grain of our usual self. My body was used to eating, sleeping and living a certain way. To change my diet was different. My body was used to the foods I ate. I was used to a schedule and a routine—but to change this, I had to update my standards. To reach my updated standards, I had to rise to the level of my standards. And this is the tricky part. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where we quit or choose to meet our standards. More to the point, this is where we learn to honor ourselves.
My old standards allowed for a lower value; therefore, my newer standards call for a more esteemable worth, which means that although I was tired this morning and my mind and body were not at their best; I had a list of justifiable excuses. There’s literally a thousand reasons why I could have went back to sleep. I only had one reason to get up, which was to honor my new standards and update my ability.
I once heard a woman tell a reporter that the day she’ll stopped fighting cancer is the day cancer will stop fighting her. I am fortunate that my fights are different. However, I want my standards to be the same as hers.
By the way, I still have cravings for fast foods and the belly-bomber meals that I used to eat. But in all fairness, I’ve updated my standards—and now that I know what it’s like to eat well, be nourished, to honor myself appropriately and understand better ways to enjoy my life, my old ways of living are simply unattractive to me.
Do you want to honor yourself?
Update your standards.
See what happens next.