On Sunday my guy’s son came by the house. He has a World War I rifle that he wanted to refurbish. He’d painted it some camo design and wanted to restore it back to the original wood stock. For some reason, he seemed to think he could accomplish this job in a few hours. What he didn’t realize was that first he had to strip it, then prep it and then finish it.
Changing your life is a lot like refinishing a rifle or a piece of furniture. It takes certain steps – sometimes time-consuming steps.
First you have to strip away the old stuff. He used a chemical that got most of the old stuff off fairly easily. We need to do that too. Say you wanted to improve your health. What’s the old stuff? The poor eating habits, the lack of exercise, not sleeping regularly, too much partying and stress. You can identify them pretty easily. But just like the caustic chemicals used to remove old paint, it can be pretty rough on your self-esteem. It stings! Nobody likes to admit they are “wrong” or “bad” or make “poor” choices. But we have to face up the old stuff.
Next you have to prep the newly exposed stuff to accept the new stuff. In the case of the wood, it means sanding – lots of sanding and maybe some filling too. This is an abrasive process. You have to prep yourself too. You have to change your thinking, your preconceived notions. You might have to do some research. And develop a plan. So you restock your pantry, join a gym or set an exercise routine. You have techniques to deal with stress. Set up an accountability and goal-tracking system. Only then are you ready for the new finish.
Staining would be the next step for the rifle. Using our health example you begin to eat healthy, exercise regularly, sleep properly, say no to the partying, and implement your stress reduction techniques. Next come the protective finish. This is where your accountability and goal-tracking system come into play. This is how you measure your progress and protect yourself from damage, just like varnish protects the new paint or stain finish.
None of this can be done in a day. It takes time and patience and often a bit of pain or discomfort. But in the end, just like the restored rifle, you will be restored as well.