Fall is my favorite time of year, with the ever-changing colors and crispness in the air. It feels like a fresh start and I love to drive around, oohing and aahing at the colorful palette painted against the sky. Eventually the leaves fall and the trees are left barren. My heart sinks a little, knowing the cold months are coming and missing the beauty of autumn. But then I realize the magnificence of this loss. Trees lose leaves for survival, to withstand the trembling temperatures of winter. And then to dig in deep and allow room for new growth. Trees know what it takes to grow. Humans also have habits that either instigate or inhibit growth. Let’s chat about how we can cut ties with choices that are stopping our spiritual progression and create consistency in our lives.
Learning to “shed our old leaves” is a vital part of strengthening our spiritual core. According to Charles Darwin: “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” Change is tough though and those pesky habits like to sneak up on us time and time again. It takes humility to recognize areas of our lives that need pruning. Here are a few suggestions on how to let go:
- Identify a habit that is hindering growth and determine its replacement.
- Visualize your success.
- Find your support group that will help when you are triggered or tempted to fall back into a particular habit.
Determining the Best Habits
Once we’re brave enough to let go of harmful habits—whether it be an addiction, lack of time management, unhealthy eating, whatever your vice is—it’s time to determine what habits should replace the old ones. I once learned a principle that has stuck with me for life: good, better, best. A quick example—daily brushing your teeth. What a good habit! But the better habit would be brushing and flossing. And the best option is brushing, flossing, and mouthwash. Just because a habit is a positive choice, doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement. Let’s aim to let go, evaluate, and hold onto the best habits.
Consistency: A True Change of Heart
Every fall we can rely on leaves falling and every spring, beautiful new growth. Our lives should pattern this cycle—consistent and careful changes. This is an exciting challenge that adds purpose to life. One of my heroes, Helen Keller, taught this: “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” True strength, true consistency means embracing constant change in our spirits. Lifestyle changes, perspective changes. A deep transformation into something better. This takes slowly letting go and constantly reaching, treelike, toward the light. Our roots will dig deeper, we’ll withstand the storms, and we’ll thrive.Take the time to visualize this transformation and reflect on what thriving would feel and look like for you. Once you’ve discovered this inner motivation for consistency and change, reach out to your support system. We all need good people to influence us for the better. Even trees need sun and water to strengthen them on a daily basis.I hope to add beauty to this world. I hope to add color in dull moments or shade for a weary soul. I hope to grow stronger by changing the everyday habits that define me. Want to join?