I was given a plant as a gift two years ago. At that time, it was full of pink blossoms. Over the course of a month or so, those flowers gradually died. For the next 22 months, it sat on my kitchen counter, under two large skylights, watered weekly, and it grew. The gangling green branches sprawled, increasing in length continuously. However, it never blossomed again. Eventually, I grew tired of it, sitting on my counter, taking up space, not producing any flowers. Knowing little about plants, I wondered if I should’ve planted it outdoors, moved it to a larger pot, or if it had just run its course and I should toss it. I decided on the latter, but as an after-thought, I moved it to another room on a table by a large set of windows, next to another plant.
Now that my plant was in the living room, I no longer saw it everyday, only for weekly watering. A few weeks passed, and one day I had a big surprise — it had blossomed again! The same plant that just weeks earlier, I had decided to throw out. Just a small change in environment, perhaps the south-facing sun or the proximity to other plants, had given it what it needed to bloom.
This got me thinking about myself and people in general. How many times do we find ourselves in frustrating situations, where we want to give up? How many things in life have we let go of that could’ve thrived with some small change? Are we placing ourselves in an environment that promotes growth in the right areas? Or are we allowing ourselves to stagnate because we can’t, don’t know how, or simply don’t want to change something that is holding us back? Are we staying in a situation that is harming our well-being because changing it seems too hard and we don’t know where to start?
Often times the changes aren’t as hard as we think, and we just have to take that first step. For example, we are more likely to complete the tasks which help us reach our goals by minimizing distractions. Want to read a book, move it from the shelf to your nightstand. Place work you need to do on your desk rather than in a distant location. Turn off notifications on your phone for a period of time when you want to focus. To eat healthier, surround yourself with better food options. A study discovered that a shift from 12–inch plates to 10–inch plates resulted in a 22% decrease in calories. Smaller plates cause us to eat less due to an optical illusion — we think things are smaller when we compare them to things that are larger, so a large plate makes the food look less and we consume more.
Although the questions I’ve posed above are not easy ones, optimizing our environment to make better choices can impact our actions. This is a task to which I am challenging myself. Choose a sore spot in my life, an area of weakness or pain, something in which I feel stagnant and wish to progress, and really ponder on what change I can make to put me on a path to success or improve my well-being.
In a previous post, I talked about how our success is in who we surround ourselves with. Today’s thoughts encompass that and more. What element in my environment needs to be changed and do I have the wherewithal or courage to do it? I’m going to move over here into the sun and sit with that for a while.
(Speaking of which, studies suggest that a daily dose of sunshine can elevate mood, increase sleep quality, and even aid weight loss ?.)