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Ultimately, I think we would all agree that change, for the better, would be a worthy goal for each of us. While pondering this topic, I thought of the lyrics to one of the most famous songs in the world. These are the lyrics, in part, from the song, “The Man in the Mirror,” by Michael Jackson:

I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life
It’s gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right…
As I turn up the collar on my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowin’ my mind
I see the kids in the street, with not enough to eat
Who am I, to be blind? Pretending not to see their needs
A summer’s disregard, a broken bottle top
And a one man’s soul
They follow each other on the wind ya’ know
’Cause they got nowhere to go
That’s why I want you to know
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.

This song definitely nails the answer to one of life’s most powerful, and often debated, questions. That being, how and where it does change begin?

Change is an individual responsibility.

In order to change the world, one must be willing to change his own heart. This individual responsibility for change must be personally OWNED. You can’t pass it off on somebody else.

Many times, people will come to Dr. Michele and I and ask us to help them make a change. Certainly, we will do everything we can to help them put their feet on the right path, give them tools to work with, and encourage them with knowledge. However, it is not up to us to actually bring about the change. It must start within.

Never pass off this responsibility to a teacher, minister, doctor, or counselor. Each individual person must make the decision to change. The reason for change must outweigh the reason to stay the same.

True change, for the better, must be wrapped around the premise of improving not just you, but the world around you.

Making a change in any situation must be carefully considered. Does it make you better? As a person? As a father or mother? Does it benefit your family and loved ones? If the answer is YES, then implementation of the steps necessary to make the change can begin. You see, not all change is good.

Making a change takes intentional planning.

There has to be one step, followed by another, and followed by another. It won’t happen all at once. This is especially true if habits have been forged into your life for years.

Habits, attitudes, and even beliefs can be hard to change. For example, Dr. Michele and I have had many people in the clinic in whom we have explained the devastating effects of consuming the standard American diet. We rarely meet disagreement over the subject. However, because of deep foundational habits, folks will still eat the same thing and experience the same inflammatory conditions.

Therefore, a step-by-step plan is necessary.

Plans to institute change must contain both short, intermediate, and long-term goals.

Short-term goals may include things such as eating one vegetable a day. Short term goals represent small steps towards change with built in progressive steps.

Intermediate goals may contain things such as conducting 150 minutes of exercise per week. Long-term goals would be geared more towards measurable body composition change or biomarker improvement. These are just examples of course. This plan can be instituted in regard to relational, financial, and familial changes.

Are changes necessary in all of us? Yes, they certainly are. As for me, that change begins with ME. I am not going to pass that responsibility on to anyone or anything. I OWN that. How about you? Isn’t it time to make positive change a reality?