We have all been there … contemplating doing something new or trying something new. We are interested but not quite ready to pull that trigger. Some of us hang out in the contemplation stage for a long time! Behavior Change Scientists actually study what it takes to get a person from contemplation to action. I often hear from new students that they have contemplated Pilates for quite a while before actually coming to the studio.
Why do we do this? Often times we are fearful of the unknown. Will we be good enough, capable, or able? We are fearful we won’t fit in. We are fearful this is the wrong choice for us. That fear can hold us at bay. I’ve experienced it, too! BUT I have a little trick that helps me move from contemplation to action!
When I am in the contemplation stage I ask myself “What is the worst that can happen if I try this?’“
Let me give you a few examples and share how my trick works.
This past week I had heard a student talking about hiking the Pinnacles of Berea. I didn’t even know this existed and went home and did a little research. It looked like something I would enjoy and we had a three day weekend coming up! I wanted to do this but that little bit of doubt and contemplation set in. I’d never been there before – what if I couldn’t find the trails? What if I got lost on the trails? What if I wasted a couple of hours driving to and from and it wasn’t what I thought it would be? What is the worst that could happen: I could drive to Berea and never find the trails or I could get lost on the trails.
Well, it was a beautiful day to be driving in a convertible – so even if I never found the trails I’d have a lovely top-down drive. And I took a screen capture of the trail map in case I needed it. I went and it was a beautiful and worthwhile way to spend my morning! I am so glad I didn’t chicken out. The worst that could happen really wouldn’t have been that bad either!
Example Number 2:
During quarantine, I took a few private tennis lessons with my student’s son who was in town at the time. I loved it! After he left I decided I should see about joining a clinic. I had the time and was really enjoying learning this new skill. I looked online at the schedule several times. I called and talked to the front desk girl to make sure I knew when and where to show up and what to bring. The night of the clinic that doubt started sinking in – maybe I’m not good enough for this clinic? So I asked myself What is the worst that could happen: I show up and I am by far the worst player and I am told I don’t belong in this clinic. Embarrassing – yes but survivable.
I rationalized I wouldn’t know if I didn’t go. Well, it turns out the information was wrong online and the front desk had used that old information as well when I called. When I got to the clinic the instructor informed me that it was a ranked class, not beginner 2 like I had thought. I never hit a ball, never embarrassed myself but I did waste a bit of time. I was given a new schedule at the front desk with the correct times. Even though the evening was a bust – I left proud of myself for showing up. I stepped out of my comfort zone. It didn’t go as planned but I survived! I will go back!
I believe when we break down the worst-case scenario it is often nowhere near as bad as we may have built it up to be in our minds. What is the worst that could happen if you try Pilates for the first time: It could be challenging, you may have to ask some questions, you may feel some muscles you didn’t know you had but I can promise you will be welcomed, introduced and taught with compassion. And if you hate it – you have only lost one hour of your day and that is all 😉