Seth Godin talks about how physical therapy can be an amazing metaphor for our own projects. He points out that physical therapy can often work better than pills or surgery. Why? Here are the reasons he lists.
–it’s self-produced. Even though we work with a professional, it’s done BY us, not TO us.
–it’s gradual. No one gets better after one session.
–it puts our own resources to work to create the change we seek.
–it’s simple. There’s no magic involved, just directed, persistent effort based on science and testing.
–it takes effort. If you want something easy, you’re in the wrong place.
I love this metaphor. And I will add a bit to it. Godin says it’s gradual. That’s true. Another way of saying that is, “it will be up and down.” There will be times when you will not be making the progress you want. There will be times when you are frustrated. Doing it “the right way” does not create overnight success. It’s a long game.
That is not negative. It’s true. And understanding that there will be times when you won’t “feel” like it’s working can help you know it’s okay. You are not broken. And to be honest, you are not unique.
If you keep going, “slow and steady” really does win the race.
That is why I think it’s important to celebrate those incremental wins. Someone I know is working to quit smoking. Actually, she already quit smoking. Now she is working to keep up this behavior. But she is currently in a stage where she is fighting that voice in her head. She is putting in the work, but it’s not easy.
Yesterday afternoon we discussed how much she would have spent had she bought all of those packs of cigarettes. We came up with around $90. I encouraged her to go home and spend that money on something fun (and positive). She saved that $90 by working to create the change she wants in her life. Now it’s time to reward that behavior!
Creating change in our own lives can be tough, but it can be done. Take Seth Godin’s advice and treat it like Physical Therapy, because in many ways, it really is.