Healthy Life Toolbox, Tool #5 – Embrace Uncertainty
I know from my own efforts to make positive changes in my life, and from talking to women and reading comments from readers, that many of us feel uncertain. We don’t know exactly what we should be doing. We wonder if what we’re doing will work and if our efforts will pay off. Sometimes, we wonder if we should even bother.
And those are fair questions, because we’ve all experienced (probably many times!) times when we tried to make a positive change but weren’t able to do it. Or we made the change, but then weren’t able to maintain it.
And so we feel uncertain and ask ourselves over and over –
- “Should I even try?”
- “Should I go all in?”
- “Will this be the same as last time?”
- “Am I just setting myself up for disappointment?”
- “is it worth it?”
You have to answer those questions for yourself; no one else can answer them for you. You’re the only one who knows what the change would mean to you, how much you want it, and what kind of effort it will take to achieve it. (Includes affiliate links.)
I will tell you this, though – if the change is something you’ve wanted for a long time, if it’s often in the back of your mind, if you know in your heart that it would be really, really good for you – then it’s very likely that the answers to those questions are “yes, you should do it; no, it won’t be the same as last time; no, you’re not just setting yourself up for disappointment; and yes, it’s worth it.”
And if you’ve decided to go for it, to make the healthy change in your life, health, or marriage that you really want to make, then here are the two best things I can tell you:
- Feeling uncertain and afraid is completely normal.
- You are not alone – every woman who’s making healthy changes this year is feeling the exact same thing.
You will not know all of the answers when you start. And if you’ve already started, you’re likely still looking around and trying to find the best answers.
If you want to lose weight, you won’t necessarily know which eating or exercise plan is going to work best for you, or whether stress or sleep issues are affecting your weight. You won’t know exactly how you’re going to find time to plan, shop for, and prep healthier meals – or how you’re going to find time to exercise.
If you want to make positive changes in your marriage or family life, you won’t know exactly how to proceed. You won’t be certain what to do first (or next) or how your spouse or other family members will respond.
And if you want to pursue a dream, start a business, or change your career (or make some other big life change), you’ll probably feel certain that you have absolutely no idea where to begin.
In other words, almost everything will seem unclear, and you’re likely to feel uncertain about how to figure things out – or if it’s even worth the effort.
All of that is normal, so don’t let it frustrate you.
Instead, I want you to embrace this quote from Cathy Heller, author of the “Don’t Keep Your Day Job” book and podcast – “Clarity comes through action.”
“Clarity comes through action.”
That means that you have to start moving before you can even begin to see what works and what doesn’t. You won’t see your way through the uncertainty until you begin to take steps and start moving forward.
You won’t figure everything out by sitting down and thinking through all of the possibilities (although, of course, it’s good to have a plan). Instead, you’ll figure things out and move through the uncertainty by doing – by taking action, one step forward at a time.
I kind of hate that, because I really like to think about things, make a plan, mull things over in my mind, read a book about it, etc., etc. It’s just so much safer to think and plan than it is to act.
Safer, but approximately 95% less effective.
So if you’re feeling uncertain and don’t know exactly what to do, go ahead and embrace that feeling as normal and completely expected. Then begin to push through it by taking steps, one at a time, that will help you move toward your goal.
And pay attention to what you learn, and what new ideas, paths, and information become clear to you. Because once you start to move you’ll be amazed at what you begin to see and learn. Interesting ideas will pop into your mind, you’ll meet people who know something that helps you, you’ll come across books and articles that give you a great tip or a new perspective, and you’ll figure out easier ways of doing things that have always seemed hard.
Because uncertainty is completely normal – so embrace it – and clarity really does come through action.
Use the Tool – Do this today or tomorrow. For the healthy goal you’re working on this year, identify at least two things about making this change that scare you or make you feel very uncertain. Then, decide on one step you can take that will move you forward on each of those things. That’s it – two steps, one for each of two things that may be holding you back from making the change you really want to make. Then lather, rinse, and repeat – at least 3 times a week, identify one thing you can do to move forward through fear and uncertainty and do it.
I’d love to know what you’re working on this and how this idea works for you. Leave a note in the Comments, or email me at gc @ calmhealthysexy.com
Next, we’ll talk about Tool #6 – Overcome Resistance.
You can find all of the Healthy Life Toolbox posts here.