Last week I wrote about how Behavior is the Truth, and since that time I’ve spent more time thinking about what that means.
If behavior is the truth, then how do I want to behave? What do I want my truth to be?
If I don’t like the truth I see, then I have the ability to change it.
The choice is up to me.
That reminded me of an experience I had a few years ago, when I took my son to his regular weekly archery lesson.
For some reason he was the only one at the range that particular day, so he challenged me to shoot with him.
Bow and arrow target shooting is fun, even though I’m not very good at it. I reached for a bow and took him up on his offer.
We shot several rounds together, and his arrows hit the target in neat little groupings, while mine were a bit — shall we say — less focused.
To say he trounced me is an understatement.
We both had a great time, and as he razzed me on the way home, I laughed and filed the experience under the “it’s good for children to be better at some things than their parents are.”
It was all in good fun…until the next morning.
I woke up feeling absolutely horrible. I had chest pains, and my whole neck, torso, shoulders, and back were screaming at me.
I honestly thought I’d had a heart attack in the night.
Then it hit me: archery.
Do you have any idea how many little teensy, tiny muscles you use in your upper body when you shoot a bow and arrow?
The answer to that question is “a lot.”
And specifically — new behaviors.
New behavior is like my new experience of archery.
It doesn’t matter what the activity is, doing new things causes you to stretch yourself and use muscles that you didn’t even know you had.
Behaving differently works the same way, only the muscles that may experience a little fatigue are emotional muscles.
When I choose to behave differently in response to everyday problems that I have faced before, to deliberately attempt to solve those problems in new and different ways, it’s working new muscles.
Or perhaps working those muscles in slightly different ways.
When I behave in a way that takes me totally outside my comfort zone by trying new things, there are also new emotional muscles at work.
And I experience sore muscles — it’s just that they’re all in my head…literally!!
So if you’re trying to change your behavior — stopping a bad habit or following through on a new, deliberate objective– remember that you’re exercising new muscles and cut yourself some slack.
Like an athlete in training, you will get stronger over time.
And, as always, please drop me a line and let me know how you are doing!