by Wendy Strgar March 21, 2019
Usually by the time we “spring forward,” most of us have long forgotten our New Year’s resolutions and not because we don’t want to change, but because the big sweeping ones we plan for after our third glass of champagne are so hard to get our hands around in the day to day. While the desire for change is earnest, what most of us miss is that real change is found in the small steps that we do consistently.
Someone told me a long time ago that if you can change any area of your life by a consistent five percent, the effects will be remarkable. The truth of this is mirrored in the reality of global warming. Even changes of a single degree can change everything. Just a few years ago, what was imperceptible even to scientists was altering the landscape of our collective future.
This five-percent rule applies to our personal ecosystems as well. The smallest of changes in how we communicate in, show up for, and think about our relationships can and does alter their course.
The other truth, which shows up for all of us in some way at some time is that bad things happen fast, and good things take time. This is the key to why the five-percent rule is how life actually transforms. Accidents, illnesses, and the errant forces of nature like hurricanes or tornadoes arrive in a moment, and often with no warning. Personal catastrophes and tragedies fall into the middle of your world like a tidal wave. How is it possible that we could not see these things coming? Relationships are fragile ecosystems and, just as in the aftermath of a storm, rebuilding and recuperation is a process which requires the time and patience that is the daily work of healing.
And yet, it is so easy to get burned out in the work of relating. It is the hardest work that we are asked to do. People are annoying, even the very best of them – especially when you live with them and are charged with their care. This fact can apply to growing families or aging parents as easily as it does to our primary partner.
Keeping relationships healthy and being willing to heal the ones that are ailing is not a quick fix solution, it is a resolution to keep the five-percent rule in action.
The five-percent rule is a great way to start again… and to take on no matter what your life situation. Another way of thinking about it is as a continuous improvement plan, where we agree to remain vigilant to our own attitude and willingness to participate. It acknowledges that we aren’t going to be perfect or expect perfection. Rather with realistic intentions, we strive to be just a bit better than yesterday. It respects the time that it takes for small, seemingly imperceptible changes to be felt and experienced.
Making a resolution to live with a five-percent improvement plan is a heroic act. Not only do you courageously embrace the unpredictable and certain falling apart that happens in every life, but you simultaneously hold your heart open to trying to make the small acts of living softer and more bearable for the people you love. It is a resolution that you can keep because it commits you to a process rather than an outcome and gives you the freedom to miss the mark some days.
So, go ahead, start again and resolve to get better at whatever you choose. Or what the heck, just resolve to get better in your whole life, but just go for five percent. It’s plenty.
by Wendy Strgar May 16, 2019
by Wendy Strgar May 02, 2019
by Wendy Strgar April 18, 2019