Some people prefer to dive right into a cold lake, getting the shock and pain over-with so that they can enjoy the fun of swimming. I’m more of a toe-dipper. While some say that just prolongs the torture, I disagree. It may take longer, but I prefer to immerse first my feet, then my legs, and take it from there.
Generally speaking, we as a people do not like change. New is often scarier than where you’re at, even if where you’re at is fat or in debt or in an unhealthy relationship.
And like most people, I’m too exhausted most days to put any effort into totally re-inventing the way I do things. It can feel overwhelming and seem impossible. Quitting can be the only logical choice. It’s just easier to do it the old way.
I first heard about the concept of “leaning in” on an Oprah radio webcast a few years ago. It was in the context of converting to veganism. But leaning in is an idea that can really be applied to anything.
It’s a way to re-frame how we view change. It sets low expectations, making small successes encouraging rather than demoralizing.
I do a lot of cooking at home now. My husband, too. We eat very little processed food. Most of what we eat now, including snacks, is made by us. But three years ago, we rarely did this. We started becoming interested in healthy eating when we watched Food Inc. and read some books by Michael Pollan. With learning some basics and experimenting, we slowly and painlessly got to where we are now. I still buy things like crackers and cereal bars. I’m not churning my own butter or anything. But I can do that without giving up or punishing myself because I no longer think of things as good or bad, black or white. I’ve come a long way and it wasn’t that hard. In fact, it was enjoyable.
I use the leaning in method for almost everything: organizing and purging items, decorating, healthy eating, cooking at home, trying anything new. And I reuse it when I slip up. After a vacation where I indulge in restaurant food, I give myself two weeks to re-lean in. It allows me to gently find where I left off and removes any anxiety as I transition from one normal way to another.
Hurry up and pick something you’ve always wanted to achieve and then figure out how to go about it as slowly as possible.