Creating changes that take you to where you want to go
If you have heard Temple Grandin speak, you know she is very clear in her messages. One thought she shared is that we should have the goal of moving our children towards independence. Expand their options of things they can do by expanding their experiences.
Not expanding their options is not an option.
Marsha Dunn Klein, spoke about 'stretching from familiar'. Start from an area of trust (where the child is comfortable) and introduce something new from there. For someone with food issues, it might be just watching someone hold a target food and smell it. It could be reading a story about it and singing a song about it. Slowly, take steps that expand what is familiar. For example, if a child likes apple juice, an apple might be the target food.
A few ideas struck me as I listened to them.
- First, how small the changes were.
- Second, introducing change was almost continuous (allowing for back steps when needed). Remember the changes were very small and incremental.
- Third, there was sometimes a tipping point where change became expected and less traumatic.
- Fourth, the creativity needed, especially at the beginning, to make a change that was still within the comfort zone but bumping into its perimeter. Something like having an apple give me a kiss and then kiss the child on the knee.
I looked at myself and how I have been trying to get back into an exercise program with no follow-through. On the weekend, I revamped it to one exercise that takes two minutes and helps my back. It is a loooong way from a muscle-challenging, sweat-inducing routine but I now have three imaginary stars on my calendar and am smiling as I write this.
Returning to Temple Grandin’s desire to increase independence, my two minute back exercise might be my first step for me towards increasing my physical independence in the long term.
Although it is exciting when a massive action gives a massive change, you probably agree, most long-lasting change is through small steps towards a goal.
Have you found any quirky/creative changes that have helped you to make changes in your life or in someone else’s life? What was a very small change that you made that created a larger-than-expected difference?