Let’s say you’ve made a resolution to lose weight. Just a guess… You’ve read positive research about the benefits of walking and decide that along with learning to eat healthier, you’ll start logging in those 10,000 steps quoted in another study you’ve read deemed to be a reasonable amount for a healthy adult. Then you tell a friend. Turns out they’ve just read another study that found walking won’t help you lose weight. Refusing to waste another second of your valuable time on something that’s “not going to work anyway” you plop yourself down in your recliner, grab a beer and put your feet up, berating yourself for even considering that you’re capable of making positive changes in your body in the first place. That is the downside of research: when it makes you question what you are telling you. As a person who enjoys obtaining information and benefiting from the “diligent and systematic inquiry or investigation into a subject in order to discover or revise facts, theories, applications, etc..” (per Dictionary.com) I rely on good research in numerous areas of my life, especially health. But it has its place, and that place is second to your own voice. No, not your speaking voice, your other voice. The voice that’s clamoring to be heard amidst the noise of the world. Yeah- that voice. That is the voice that is telling you what you need. Since this voice is individual to you, you are the only one who can hear it. Therefore, it stands to reason that when you begin to listen to this voice, what you hear may not always align with what the rest of the world is saying and it will take every ounce of your internal fortitude to shut out the outside noise in order to receive the message that is intended for you. If that sounds too airy-fairy for you, let me just put it this way: in the above scenario, the person in question (let’s call them personX) has been led (that inner urging was his voice) to re-examine what’s going on in his life regarding diet and exercise and make a change. But upon finding “proof” that walking won’t have the desired effects on his body, he’s discouraged into doing nothing. Perhaps it would be useful if I did a study that showed what percentage of the world was obese due to inactivity that came about due to reading studies about the scientific reasons why “this won’t work for you either.” But I digress… If personX had instead listened to his own voice instead of becoming discouraged by the research, he would have found that eventually the research may not have represented him anyway. Why? Because taking 10,000 steps a day was not to be his whole story, but merely just the first page of the first chapter. Unfortunately, this story can’t even begin, because our protagonist is still in the recliner. Had he began with those 10,000 steps, the part he felt confident he could do, he would have been led gradually to the next thing, and the next, and so on. Chapter 2 may have seen him confident enough to add in some weight training, and by Chapter 3, perhaps he was feeling so strengthened by the results of his new behaviors that he was ready to address some relationship issues that he had been too fearful to take on in the past. Maybe by Chapter 6, feeling lighter in both the figurative and literal sense of the word, his newfound vigor encourages someone else to get up out of their recliner as well. And his story continues. Not because he took 10,000 steps or 100,000 steps, but because he took the first step.
When you’re encouraged to take that first step in any manner you’re encouraged to take it, don’t let outside forces convince you it’ll be a waste of your time. Do the part you’re led to do without concern for what’s to come in the remaining chapters. They’ll unfold in their own time. And you’ll be the one writing them.