My family and I love to ski and snowboard. We live at the base of the Wasatch Mountains, and we have ski resorts within an hour’s drive. I’m not a great skier yet by any means, but I can keep up, and I can get down the mountain in one piece.
I’ve worked really hard to improve every year. So, we decided this year I was ready to trade in my used, beat-up starter skis for my own brand new pair. They’re slightly longer and brand new, so the edges are sharp. The bottoms are smooth, so I anticipated the experience of skiing on them was going to be a little different.
Let me tell you, we got up to the top of the mountain, and immediately upon exiting the lift, I realized it was a lot different. I imagine my brain on the way up was like, this is skiing. We know how to do this, right? We remember this, and it called up how it’s supposed to feel and what muscles need to do what, at what time.
Then, I got off the lift onto my new skis, and my brain was like, what is happening? This does not feel like it’s supposed to. These skis are not behaving how we expected them to. The muscles are not working in the way they’re supposed to. What’s going on? It was really weird. I felt like a beginner again.
It was more tiring to my muscles than the way I usually ski, so I was worn out like halfway down the mountain, and at one point, I caught an edge, and I felt both my skis come off. It was a mess.
Toddler brain tantrum
I haven’t fallen in years so, as I lay there in the snow on my back, I could hear the tantrum forming in my toddler brain. I want my old skis back. This sucks. I hate these. This is the worst idea ever. You know, that kind of thing.
I eventually gathered myself, skis, poles, made it down the mountain, and nearly went straight to the car when my husband stopped me and convinced me to try again. His rational brain calmed my toddler brain down, and I decided to give it another chance, one more run.
And this is where my mind was then blown.
As I got off the lift, it felt a little easier. When I went down the first part of the hill and tried some parallel turns, and I started to feel a little more in control. I was able to go a little faster and didn’t wreck. At the bottom of the mountain in one piece, I was less tired and ready for another.
Every run got easier that day, and I felt better than I had on the last day of the previous year by the end of it.
And it all happened automatically. I didn’t consciously think about how to adjust my balance and which muscles needed to engage and release when to ski and turn and slow myself smoothly down the mountain. My brain just figured it out little by little.
It’s like I got on the lift going down once, and my brain was like, all hands on deck, something’s different. We need to recalibrate, and by the time I got to the top of the lift, recalibration had occurred and then was ongoing until I figured it out.
How amazing is that? Think about all of the systems and parts of my body that needed to participate and coordinate in this recalibration for things to go smoothly again. I was aware of it while I was experiencing it, and I just had to sit back and marvel at the miracle that is my body.
Recalibration gets easier each time
Over the holidays, I went on a trip with my family, and I left work behind. We went to the beach, and I didn’t end up wearing my regular glasses the whole time.
Obviously, I can see fine enough without them so, I didn’t need them, but usually, if I don’t wear them, I get headaches. However, the things that typically give me headaches, my computer, my phone, reading the small print on a screen, etc., weren’t an issue there. So, I put them in their case, and I didn’t get them out until we got home.
When I first got my glasses and started wearing them months ago, it took weeks for my brain to adjust to the idea that this was normal now. Every time I put them on throughout that time, the world looked weird through these lenses.
It took my brain some time to adjust and recalibrate. It’s interesting because I got glasses because my eyes were having to strain to work together. It was causing them to be tired and for me to have frequent headaches and discomfort. Even so, my brain didn’t jump for joy at the prospect of the change.
It was very committed to the way things were.
So, when I got home from my trip and put my glasses on after not wearing them for almost two weeks, the world looked weird again. My brain had recalibrated back to no glasses mode, so putting glasses on again felt like starting over.
Only it wasn’t because my body and brain, being the amazing miracles that they are, were able to recalibrate to glasses mode in a matter of minutes, not weeks. This time when I put my lenses on, my brain was like, oh, we know this. This is glasses mode.
Once again, my mind was blown at the capacity of my brain and body for change without me doing anything.
Your incredible capacity for change
If your body can do all of this automatically, imagine the power you can employ when you make a conscious effort to adjust and recalibrate along the way.
Your toddler brain, like mine, may want to freak out and quit when faced with a new challenge or uncharted territory. It makes perfect sense. Change is hard and uncomfortable.
But no matter what we’re trying to shift, adjust, recalibrate, or change, the hard and uncomfortable won’t last forever. You will create a new normal, a new comfort level if you give it some time.
Change will come if you don’t make the discomfort mean that the change will never happen. It will happen when you keep trying, keep working, keep learning, keep going, and remind your brain that this discomfort is to be expected.
When we’ve been used to doing things a certain way, we expect that we know how we’re supposed to feel or how it’s supposed to go, but expectations can also be adjusted.
I gave examples of my body and brain recalibrating outside of my conscious awareness. But the ability to recalibrate is possible when applied consciously to the process of change as well.
Think about some of the habits you’re trying to change right now.
Maybe it’s that you’re trying to tune into and recognize when you’re full. Part of the process is noticing when you’ve gotten past that point to over full.
Now, your toddler brain will react to this like mine did, after my skiing fall. It will tell you that it sucks and that it’s too hard. It will say that you want to go back to when you didn’t have to think about this and try this new hard thing.
The signal to recalibrate
But if you are in the conscious recalibration game, you can remind your brain that this is an important part of the process, and it’s just to signal to adjust and recalibrate.
What was happening while you were eating?
What were you feeling?
Did you get a signal that you were full?
If so, what happened next?
Why did you keep eating?
How can you bring that signal to your awareness next time if you didn’t?
Maybe you stop halfway through the meal and check in. Perhaps you slow down the process of eating so that you can catch the signal in time. Maybe you turn off the TV and focus on the meal only.
Calibrations can be a tiny minute, or they can be big and bold.
As always, start small and give yourself grace.
Conscious change through love
And of course, if you want help with this, it’s not too late to apply for my Love First weight loss group that starts in February. The process of conscious change through the lens of love is what it’s all about. There are a few spots left, so click here to apply.