Five Simple Steps to Change- they really do work!

When we last left our dancing heroine she was undertaking part 5 of her Gremlin Taming Plan on the dance floor at the 46th Annual Harvest Moon Championship Ball; in front of God, Jose Dechamps and Joanna Zacharewciz (current undefeated US Rhythm Champions) and everyone else in attendance. To recap: she choose option B) Not. Not to do the same mental steps over and over, letting the jitters best her, but to instead create new choreography to better suit the rhythms of her life and stretch her capacities as a dancer and as a person.

So how did our heroine do? Beautifully. None of her worst fears and Gremlin’s favorite tall tales came true. She did not miss a spiral turn and do a face plant. She did not run from the dance floor, on the verge of tears because she blew the routine. No one said, “What the heck do you think you are doing? Do your REALLY think you belong out there on the floor?”

Did the steps always flow beautifully? No, but that is okay, because they moved across the metaphorical floor of life with a positive energy.  Better yet when she did miss a grapevine or spiral turn, she just kept moving into the next pattern of steps. Each pass on the floor, each heat became easier. Practice makes perfect, right?

Change, lasting change, is about cultivating new habits. Conditioning yourself, to think, act and ultimately live differently than in the past. Change takes time, and practice and sometimes not reaching your mark.  When you don’t reach your mark easily that is an opportunity to try a new tact.  When you do reach you mark that is an opportunity to do it again, again and again until it’s just the way to do “It”- whatever “It” is for you. These new habits become the familiar steps in your life’s choreography. You can always choose to rearrange them or incorporate new ones into your dance.

Was the experience interesting and beneficial? Yes. So, the jitters remained for our heroine but were transformed into positive stress propelling her and her partner across the dance floor. Reinforcing self-efficacy. Igniting the deep sense of gratification of accomplishing a personal goal. When our dancer was awarded high honors for an Argentine Tango routine and told she would be performing the routine as part of Saturday night’s events – events that included rounds of professional competition and performances by Jose Dechamps and Joanna Zacharewciz, she did not pass out cold. She got her game face on eventually, took some very deep breaths, straightened out her big girl panties, headed for the door and danced her heart out in front of a crowd. She was humbled and thrilled to hear people clapping and grateful for the opportunity to take a risk.

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