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"I Can't Change the Direction of the Wind, ..."

But I can adjust my sails to reach my destination" ~ Jimmy Dean.

One of the toughest things to do is change. We know this. We don’t like change. Change takes us into the unknown, into uncertainty. This creates anxiety and worry. YUCK! Who wants that? 

When the wind changes, we have a choice. We can stay exactly the same, fighting to keep moving towards our destination, battling the wind, hoping and praying that the wind will change back. Or, we can work with our new circumstances, change the sails so to speak, and work with our new circumstances to our advantage. 

I’m a health and fitness coach. My job is to help people through the process of creating positive healthy behaviors. Most of the time my job is to just help bring awareness to a situation- basically help you become aware that the wind has changed and how to work with your new circumstances so you can reach your destination more easily instead of constantly “fighting the wind”. 

When we describe the process of change as something as simple as adjusting our sails, we make change sound super easy! With a snap of your fingers- BAM!- New, healthy lifestyle full of positive, enjoyable, fulfilling behaviors you look forward to doing all the time! Sorry...I was laughing ironically even as I was writing that last one. Give me a break! If change were that easy we would all be living our best lives- no problem!

What this wonderful metaphor doesn’t account for are all those pesky little extenuating circumstances, like our old, established familiar comfortable habits. We do what we know. We do what’s familiar. We do what’s comfortable. 

Look at my job. Typically I’m a health and fitness coach at a gym. Right now because of my family situation, I can’t work at the gym. I have two choices- keep fighting the wind or adjust my sails. I chose to adjust my sails.

I accept that I can’t do my job at the gym right now. So I’m figuring out how to do my job online. Now it has been scary- unknown- uncertain. Not only am I teaching myself the technology, but I’m also teaching myself new behaviors around HOW I work. 

In the past few weeks I came to the realization that I am a classic workaholic addicted to being busy. I love being busy. I love training and teaching classes because it keeps me busy all day doing what I love to do- helping people get healthy. Back to back clients and classes with only a break to eat a quick bit and cram in a workout- AWESOME! No time to think, just present in the moment focused on my people. THE BEST! However, the wind changed. That workday model isn’t available right now. Now most of my day is spent alone, doing stuff I don’t really know how to do. That immediate hit of satisfaction and gratification I would get after every session is gone. 

So now what do I do? Create more suffering by complaining- which is fighting the wind- or accept my new circumstances and figure out which way to change my sails. 

Health and fitness behaviors are exactly like work behaviors, parenting behaviors, friendship behaviors. We have habits that positively serve us and we have habits that negatively serve us. When we have a goal like being a better mom or spouse, improving our finances, or getting a promotion, typically we know what we have to do. Want to start a college fund? Ok- we look at our income and expenses and make some choices. Health and fitness is exactly the same. We look at what we want- to feel good- and we make some choices. We look at our behaviors like how we’re eating, how we’re moving, how we’re sleeping, and how we’re dealing with stress, and we start to take an inventory.

Once we have that inventory we then can look at where we’re fighting that wind and figure out the best way to adjust our sails so we can reach our destination- which is to feel good as much as possible. 

I think we have a tendency to hope that we’ll feel good, like hoping that the wind will change back, instead of “adjusting our sails”. We don’t really want to adjust our sails. We like them the way they are. Unfortunately, that often means we’re setting ourselves up for failure. 

My tip for today? Look at the direction the wind is blowing. How can you work WITH the wind?


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