The Ripple Effect

Throw a stone in a lake and what happens?  You see the rings – the ripples in the water.  Then if you wait a moment or two, it settles in to the calm water again – until you throw another stone in there!  

I’m a bit awed by my Weight Watcher meetings this week.  Actually – not just the meetings – but the people that make the meetings. I know I might say that often, but the beautiful thing is that it’s a room filled with people ALL in the same struggle – to lose or maintain weight.  And when they share their struggles and the changes they make to conquer (or at least battle) those struggles, it awes me.

This week talked about how small changes can lead to big results.  Or… as I put it…. The Ripple Effect.  (The Ripple Effect has nothing to do potato chips.  Really.)

I used to read my kids the Laura Numeroff books (If you give a mouse a cookie.  If you give a moose a muffin.)  They loved them.  It gave a perfect example of the ripple effect.  For every action, there’s a consequence.   This is a lesson we definitely want our kids to learn.

But what about us?  We also have consequences – ripples.   Some of the examples started with basic things but turned in to really big things (thank you, Weight Watchers, you obviously know what you’re doing when planning this meeting!)

This was one example.   One member said she focused on drinking an extra glass of water each day. That turned in to making sure she checked off her liquids good health guideline. That turned in to making the entire guideline water – giving up her soda. That turned in to fewer cravings for sugar. That turned in to her blood sugar numbers being below a certain level. That turned in to lowering her diabetes medication. That turned in to her being more motivated than ever to work on other guidelines. That turned in to a 45-pound loss celebration.  And that was just one.

So what happens when another member hears this?  Maybe one or two or six of them also increase their water intake and lose weight. 
What happens when you share an inspiring weight loss story on your Facebook or Twitter? Maybe it creates that ah-ha moment – that cold water splash that s the catalyst for change.

What happens when you decide to switch a snack bar with a banana each day? 
What happens if now don’t get leg cramps because of that banana?
 What happens if you now take a walk each day because you’re no longer getting cramps in your legs?
What happens if after a few weeks of eating a banana for your snack and taking walks each day your clothes are too big?  
What happens if, when you’re clothes are too big, you feel really amazing?

Trust me…I’m aware that the ripple effect can work backwards, too, but these men and women sharing their small – miniscule to them – changes and then also sharing the changes they’re seeing – that’s magic happening right there.  They’re healthier, smaller, happier, more focused.

The beauty here is small.   And I need to remember myself there’s no change too small to try.   So just one thing.

What one thing will I do differently today?  What’ll happen next? I’m excited to find out. But I have to remember something about the ripple effect.  I have to continue to throw stones in the water to watch the change happen.  

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