When you want to make a change, should you really¬† “Go Big or Go Home”?

In 1997, I moved across the country to a state where I had no family, knew not one person, and no income.

I left everything and everyone I knew because I knew I wanted to live in Colorado and not where I was at the time, the Gulf Coast of South Florida.

I went Big, and I needed to go big because the lifestyle I wanted was worlds, well, states away from where I was spending every day.

I would never have made it to Colorado if I decided to move to Georgia for a few years, then to Alabama for a few years, then, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, and finally into Colorado.

I had to make the entire journey in one big trip.

It may seem like I am arguing for BIG changes, but here are some things to know about my big change.

First, from the time I decided to move to the day I hopped into the moving truck and set out on the road took years.

Logistically, it took a lot of time to get everything in order, from leases and  living arrangements to saving enough money to make the trip to planning my route, etc.

I was supremely motivated to make the move, but I was scared out of my wits; I kept putting off the move, after telling everyone I was doing it, that my teacher/boss almost had to fire me to get me to leave.

The problem with making a BIG changes is that it takes TONS of motivation and energy because making such a dramatic life change is like trying to break free of Earth’s atmosphere.

Most of us don’t have that much motivation just lying around.

Big Changes Generate Big Fears.

Our bodies and brains resist change, preferring the status quo, or homeostasis, and will work against you to keep things they way they are, not what we want them to be.

Big Changes, like moving across the country, are most successful when they are a one-time event, not actions you have to take regularly.

Every January I meet people with Big New Year’s Resolutions to get in shape, lose weight and learn martial arts. They take massive action, trying to produce big change yet within a few weeks they’ve reverted back to their old ways.

Homeostasis strikes again.

People don’t change because the pull of their current circumstances is too great to break away from and such high levels of motivation cannot be maintained.

Burn The Ships

If Big Change is what you’re after, then you must make it impossible to go back to your normal routine.

Conquistador Hernan Cortes is famous for burning the ships his crew took across the Atlantic Ocean once they landed in the New World.

The Spaniards had two choices, Conquer or Die, according to Cortes, and they went on to successfully defeat the Aztecs.

Likewise, I had no job, no home, and nothing to go back to Florida for once I completed my trek to Colorado. I was in conquer or die mode.

I made ONE big decision, the decision to make the cross-country move, knowing that every subsequent decision and action I made once in Colorado would lead me to my goal of running a successful martial arts school, which they did.

In certain circumstances going BIG is the right step to take, but more most changes and improvements you want to make, there is a better, easier way.

Go Small.

(to be continued…)