By Christopher Cudworth
It is so easy to fall into routines in life that we resist change when it inevitably comes along. People get comfortable and they want everything to stay the same. It happens all the time, and in all aspects of life. It’s one of the tarsnakes of existence.
How it happens
We get so comfortable in our worldview that even when truth comes along to show us a new way, we reject it on grounds that it doesn’t fit our own version of truth. Umm, that’s dumb.
It happens in religion. In politics. In the workplace. People resist change because adapting to change even when it is an obviously positive force in our life requires work. Hell, even the will to change requires work. So people shun it.
The perfect allegory for change
Change forces us to shift gears, if you want a cycling allegory to fit the subject matter. You might be pedaling along in life and lose a job. Suddenly you find yourself in circumstances you never imagined. Money gets tight. The club membership seems like a stretch. Even former friends don’t return your calls. You feel alone. Change can hurt.
As most people who run and ride recognize, pain can teach us things about ourselves. Complacency is a dangerous thing because it puts you into a space where the real you never gets a chance to come out. The carefully constructed you isn’t ready to learn or experience new things.
When change comes along it can work like magic to open your eyes to new possibilities.
But be prepared. The term “embracing change” is contradictory. You can’t really “embrace” change because it resists being held down. It can’t be kept in one spot or made to bend to your will because that’s not what change is all about. It’s not about standing in one place. That’s why running and riding can teach us so much about healthy ways to adapt to change.
Sing it together
Instead you need to“roll with the changes.” (This video rocks) just like REO Speedwagon says.
Preparation on the fly
That’s why running and riding are such good preparations for dealing with change in other aspects of your life. Many times we’re called to adapt on the fly when you run and ride.
Did the wind just shift during your 50-mile bike ride? Either you buddy up and share the draft or slog your way home.
Run out of water during a 15-mile run? Better change your route to reach a fountain or adjust your pace in case you really run dry.
Over and over we learn to adapt to changes both positive and negative when you run and ride. Roll with the changes. Baby.
Changing it up
Change is inevitable as you train. Your body takes on a new form. Some of it may not be ideal. If you’re a female athlete your breasts might shrink as your body slims down, and if you’re a man your biceps may not be as big as they once were.
But roll with the changes. The new lean you is an all new beast. Friends may notice, or they may not. You must be self-possessed and confident in what you’re doing either way.
Changing it down
Or you may pick up an injury and have to forfeit your goals for a period. No worries. Just change your routine and do what you can until the injury goes away. Those of us who have trained hard for years know that injury and illness isn’t just probable, it is inevitable. If you’re trying hard enough, change will come along sooner or later and slap you down .
The ideal approach is to welcome even changes that seem like the worse thing that can happen at the time. Make it your mission to find out what those changes mean. Then you walk instead of run for a while, or do strength work. The months I spent re-habbing an ACL tear were the most educational period of my athletic career. It changed how I viewed strength and flexibility. Now those exercise are part of daily routine. Change begets new routines too.
The desire for stimulation and change is why people choose challenging events. It forces change and makes life interesting. Change is what leads to peak experiences, and those moments can be life-changing.
Now you’re on the road to a better life. One that incorporates rather than resists change whether it comes of its own accord or you bring it on yourself.
You can use the capacity for change learned through running and riding to embark on changes in other aspects of your life. If you’re stuck in a routine that does not feel good, you now know what to do. All it takes is a shift of gears here or there. A change of pace.
Perhaps your personal faith feels stale. Shift gears. Visit a new place of worship.
Maybe your work life is not rewarding. Get up on your toes and ask to take on a new project. Run a little harder. Even if you’re running in place for a time, people will notice your effort.
Sometimes relationships get stuck as well. Take them on the road. Go someplace new together. Quit being the boring person, or invite that significant other to come out of their rut.
The good parts of life are often about change. That’s all you need to remember. It’s not only okay to change. It’s vital.