To Create Lasting Change, Use Your Curiosity

By March 23rd, 2021No Comments

The question, what if?

What if I told you that in order to improve your health, you’d have to immediately eliminate your morning cup of coffee for the next 30 days?

Chances are you’ve just reached for your coffee mug, lovingly wrapped it up in both hands, and pulled it in toward your chest. There is no way you’re going to give that baby up, you need it for survival. S.u.r.v.i.v.a.l.

But what if I ignored you and proceeded to tell you that along with your morning cuppa joe, you’re no longer allowed to imbibe nightly libations? So long IPA, a buh-bye glass of well-deserved wine.

I know I’ve already lost you to the coffee, now you flat out refuse to listen to me anymore and instead are heading into the kitchen to make sure you have enough beer or wine on hand or do you have to pop out to the store today to replenish.

Let me make it up and offer you one more scenario.

What if I told you that you could improve your ability to reach deep relaxation while in REM sleep, allowing you to wake up not by having to peel your eyelids open but with ease and a happy sense of restfulness? You could then go on to experience your day feeling more alert, awake, and focused. You would have enough energy to last throughout the day, no cat naps needed. Things that once drained your energy, you’d find you’re able to handle with ease and grace. Would you put the coffee mug down now?

I decided to experiment because I was curious.

I was also allowing the stress of life to have its way with me and needed a distraction. So, in part due to my recent foray with homeschooling, things I haven’t thought about in decades came rushing back, like multiplication (which I just always use my phone for!) and grammar (which I need to brush up on!), and the old scientific process popped up quite a few times… which brings us here.

Curiosity is ripe when you’re young. But as we age, it’s not something that fills our minds, other boring, stress-filled thoughts do that. So I decided to flex my old, decrepit curiosity muscles and experiment with my daily rituals — the ones you do only because you’ve been doing them for so long without question. Wake up, make coffee. Have dinner, enjoy wine.

My experiment hence revolved around caffeine and alcohol — two of my staples, especially during the last six months. Neither was out of control (at the moment but slippery slopes are often hard to see until you’re barreling down them!), but a continuous habit that formed ages ago. I decided to mess around with those to see what would happen. So two weeks without mindlessly pouring a cup or glass of each, here’s what resulted.

Results: Turns out that morning cuppa joe was easy to ditch. Who knew? All these years I thought I needed it.

The wine was a little dicier but still, able to squash the urge pretty quickly. Here’s why though. After three days I began to feel more pep in my step. I was able to wake up early (5 am — and trust me, I was never a morning person) and find the time I thought I didn’t have to do the things I’ve wanted to do, for myself. It wasn’t a mental battle to pull back the warm covers. I felt more alert — odd since I thought coffee was doing that. I had more energy throughout the entire day too.

And my levels of patience improved tremendously — I may as well be the Patron Saint of Patience. And the clarity of mind, improved focus, and higher appreciation for all that I have — this could also be due to my increase in meditation. And there’s that. I’m meditating more.

Curiosity for the win.

I firmly believe that when we go about creating change in our lives, whatever that may look like, a challenge, or diet, when we frame it correctly, can improve our chances of actually creating that change and having it stick. I never would have done this had I thought of it as a diet or something I had to commit to for 90 days. No way. Like you, I would be clutching onto my mug of coffee right now.

But curiosity is one of our most valuable tools that leads to inquisitive thinking. It’s an opportunity to casually seek new experiences and broaden our horizons, and it’s a helluva lot better way to frame changing up your bad habits for new ones.

After all, doesn’t that sound more wonderful than a fad, detox, or elimination diet? Being curious is subjective and fluid, not rigid. When you’re curious, you’re willing to experiment without fear of permanence.

Replace fear of the unknown with curiosity and see, just see, what may come. You may have it all and be completely content where you are in life, but I challenge you to dust off your curiosity hat and try it on for size.

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