Want to feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer? Look no further than exercise. The health benefits of regular physical activity are hard to ignore. But let’s address the most forgotten and underdeveloped muscle in our bodies. This muscle is often our weakest muscle but one of the most important muscles we could strengthen. So while you are making resolutions to get into shape in 2013, don’t forget to include exercising your “Change Muscle”!
Where exactly is your Change Muscle located? It actually covers every inch of your body and every inch of your mind. It’s the muscle we use for creating changes in our lives, and like our physical muscles, it becomes weak if we don’t train it. Ariane de Bonvoisin, introduced us to our Change Muscles in her book “The First 30 Days.” She suggests our Change Muscle develops from “all of the changes that we have been through – the big ones, small ones, unexpected ones and the ones we have initiated.” And if we learn to strengthen our Change Muscle, it can become the most useful muscle in our bodies! The stronger it is, the easier it is to navigate change. Increased comfort with change means increased comfort with anything that comes our way.
Strengthening your Change Muscle is similar to strengthening your physical muscles…it means effort, a little sweat and incredible results if you stay dedicated. For the beginner it is important to build a base of core strength and flexibility before moving on to more complex workouts. The same can be said for strengthening your Change Muscle.
Step 1: Assess your fitness level and your Change Muscle strength. You probably have some idea of how fit you are physically. Assessing and recording baseline fitness scores give you benchmarks against which to measure your progress. The same is true for assessing your level of strength of your Change Muscle. By determining how quickly you traditionally navigate change, how often you get stuck in change or how much change scares you; you will have a good sense of your Change Muscle fitness level. If your answers to these questions include “change is hard, change is paralyzing or change is terrible” then it requires a different level of strengthening that if your answers are “change is ok, I welcome it”. Assessing your comfort level with change is the first step to understanding the work that your Change Muscle needs to become strong and powerful.
Step 2: Design your Change Muscle fitness program It's easy to say that you'll exercise every day. But you'll need a plan. As you design your fitness program for your Change Muscle, keep these points in mind:
Now you're ready for action. Remember to monitor your progress and listen to what your Change Muscle is telling you. Too much too soon brings pain and decreases your chance for success. Not enough effort won’t give you the results you want and you’ll give up sooner. Picking the right “equipment” for your Change Muscle workout is also important to your success. Your equipment may mean exercising with a friend who may also be looking to make similar changes so you aren’t working out alone. And if you do lose motivation, set new goals or try a new activity. Stay creative and keep things fresh.
Starting an exercise program to develop your Change Muscle is one of the most important decisions you can make. But it doesn't have to be an overwhelming one. By planning carefully and pacing yourself, you can establish a healthy habit that lasts a lifetime. And like any good exercise program, small movements, gradual load increase, deliberate practice, and rest and recovery are key components to strengthening your Change Muscle.
If you are still unsure how to strengthen your Change Muscle in 2013, please reach out to one of our Coaches at The Coaching Center of Vermont and we will collaborate with you to create an exercise program for the most important muscle of all!