Photo by Jon Meadows

By Melanie Kreifels, MA, LCPC

Our lives are intertwined by moments, sometimes just barely touching each other and others slamming up against each other.  Each of our decisions can cause a ripple effect, with some being positive and some negative.  It’s exciting how positive decisions can compound and become greater positive outcomes, but we can get overwhelmed when negativity takes hold. 

My husband and I have made some significant healthy lifestyle changes over the past eight months that have completely changed our lives…for the better!  We’ve lost weight, lost health issues, and gained a tremendous lifestyle that affords great adventures.  This healthy journey came from some incredibly unhealthy habits that blew up when the pandemic started last year.  We already had unhealthy habits, but the stress of 2020 caught up with us, and we started putting things into our cabinets that hadn’t been there since college!  It compounded negatively, at a fast pace, until I had had enough! 

I’m not sure what changed for me, other than I was just tired, but I became incredibly determined to try something new, whether my husband was on board or not.  When I started my health journey, only my husband knew.  I didn’t want to fail at this again, and I wanted some success under my feet before I put myself out there.  We had both tried so many times to get healthy, change our habits, and fell hard each time.  So, keeping it close helped me make sustainable and familiar changes before I drew others in.  I had to feel comfortable with the transition to own it, before sharing it with others.  I told some friends recently that this has been a spiritual journey for me, too… I’ve known for a long time where my worth and value lies, and I finally got to a place where I wanted to show that on the outside.  Not for pictures or sizes of jeans, but because I “feel” better healthy! 

I’m reminded in this issue of Smart Women Smart Money magazine that your start doesn’t dictate your end.  Most of the women profiled in this issue have overcome a struggle to achieve what they have today.  Whether personally or professionally, stopping and giving up wasn’t an option.  I mentioned how I love a good overcoming story in the last issue, but this issue is also full of those dreamers.  Pursuit of dreams put before you can be challenging and overwhelming, but they can also be exhilarating.  Looking at obstacles can feel very overwhelming, but I’m finding strength I didn’t know I had in making healthy lifestyle changes. My health journey is still a work in progress, and I continue to make positive steps forward each and every day. That ripple effect has a strong current that I’m sailing, and I don’t want it to end.

I’m looking forward to finding other journeys for it to take me in the days, weeks, and years to come.  How are the decisions you are making today affecting the ripple in the water of your tomorrow?  Are there changes you can make today, no matter the size, that can help change the flow of your life tomorrow?  Find someone to partner with to make the changes and hold each other accountable.  You’ll thank yourself this time next year! 

Melanie Kreifels is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and the Managing Editor of Smart Women Smart Money Magazine.