Change takes time, often way more time than we anticipate. We can despair in the details, and derail ourselves, or we can make another choice. #healthychoices #remodeling #DIY #selfcare #InspireMeMonday #condoremodel #changetakestime #lastingchange #SelfCareSunday

Change takes time, often way more time than we anticipate. We can despair in the details, and derail ourselves, or we can make another choice.

Change takes time, often way more time than we anticipate. We can despair in the details, and derail ourselves, or we can make another choice. #healthychoices #remodeling #DIY #selfcare #InspireMeMonday #condoremodel #changetakestime #lastingchange #SelfCareSunday

Demolition First

“Let’s look at the kitchen cupboards one more time,” I suggested. “The dumpster has a little more space in it, and they’ll pick it up in the morning. We can’t change our minds after tonight.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Pedro replied.

We finished eating supper and returned to the condo’s disaster zone. Every so slowly, the condo looked and smelled better as we ripped up carpet, removed doors, yanked trim off, and made endless trips to the dumpster.

When we arrived, we trudged upstairs and took one more look at the cabinets in the kitchen. “I don’t know,” I said, “the bottom ones look pretty bad.”

“It looks like they got wet and warped on the bottom or something,” Pedro agreed.

“We could probably save the top ones if we clean and paint them,” I said. “If we removed the bottom ones, we could change the layout of the kitchen a bit, too.”

“It would make it easier to rip out the linoleum and redo the flooring in here,” Pedro said. “Let’s do it!”

“Do you think we can fit the cupboards in the dumpster?” I asked.

“I’ll break them down and make them fit,” Pedro said as he walked to the other room to grab his drill and a hammer.

I laughed and went looking for a screwdriver to remove the cupboard doors. Within minutes, we started tossing old cabinets out the window on to the driveway.

We planned to start installing flooring the following day. Pedro would start in the bathrooms while I finished prepping the kitchen, dining area, and living room floors.  

Change Takes Time

It had taken longer than I anticipated to rip, remove, and get rid of everything the former tenants had broken or abused. We had worked for five days straight and had almost finished.

We wore masks when pulling out the carpet and padding, and our clothes stank at the end of the day. My arms ached from washing a layer of black grime off the walls and ceilings. Pedro’s hip ached from trudging up and down stairs with broken doors and stinking trim.

I realized I had forgotten a major truth—change takes time. Time to undo the disaster of former decisions or habits. Patience with the process of breaking things down and getting to the heart of the matter.

Change takes time, whether we want to remodel a condo, improve our health, or start a self-care routine.

You Need a Vision

Since change takes time, I find it helpful to have a vision of what I want the result to look like. For the condo, I envisioned soft greys and bright whites—neutral, but not bleh. Something a tenant could personalize with pops of color. Most of all, I wanted it to look and smell clean.

When I started my health journey twenty years ago, I envisioned myself swinging from vines and cackling with glee on my 90th birthday while my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren looked on in amazement. As each decade passes, I discover new ways I must take care of myself if I want to swing from vines in my 90s. My vision makes me giggle, and it adds levity to the serious business of enacting lasting changes.

The Second Step Involves Breaking it Down

Change takes time, often way more time than we anticipate. We can despair in the details, and derail ourselves, or we can make another choice. #healthychoices #remodeling #DIY #selfcare #InspireMeMonday #condoremodel #changetakestime #lastingchange #SelfCareSunday
It took longer to tear out the broken and clean up the mess than either of us anticipated.

The second step involves demolition. The results of rooting out the bad stuff look messy and feel painful. We feel exhausted at the end of the day, the end of a counseling session, or the end of sorting out our why.

But removing the broken and cleaning up the mess will make changes easier in the long run. We had to remove everything from the floors and paint them with Kilz (an odor and stain-blocking paint). If we hadn’t taken that tedious step, the smells would have lingered despite the new flooring we planned to install.

Although my arms ached from scrubbing walls and ceiling with special cleaning agents, I knew the new layer of paint wouldn’t stick unless I did the prep work.

Likewise, I realized my efforts to lose weight throughout my life never stuck until I took the time to figure out my why. Anyone can lose weight (and gain it back). It takes doing the hard work of figuring out why you want to lose it and what happened to make you gain it if you want to keep it off.

Patience With the Process

No one waved a magic wand to turn the condo into a disaster zone. It took at least two years (the amount of time the previous owner said the tenants had lived there) to produce the condo disaster. Two years of not vacuuming the floors. Small, unsupervised children can cause a lot of damage in two years, too. (I can’t help but feel sad about the children each time I see photos of the walls and doors).

At one point, we discovered traces of red paint on one of the walls behind a light switch plate. I found photos on Zillow of the unit from five to seven years ago, and all the walls sported a dark reddish-maroon color.

Likewise, I can’t wave a magic wand and find myself in perfect health. Nor can I wave a magic wand and have the condo remodeled. I need to realize change takes time. It always takes more time than I anticipated.

We didn’t fail because we didn’t finish in one year of only working during our vacation time. When you set a goal and start the change process, give yourself grace as you undo months, years, or maybe even decades of not-so-great decisions.

Whether you contemplate a personal change or a remodeling project, make sure you have a vision (discover your why). Take time to get rid of all the old stuff—whether it’s doors or faulty narratives. Once you’re ready to rebuild, have patience with yourself during the process.

Change takes time, often way more time than we anticipate. We can despair in the details, and derail ourselves, or we can make another choice. #healthychoices #remodeling #DIY #selfcare #InspireMeMonday #condoremodel #changetakestime #lastingchange #SelfCareSunday
Here's what I learned from our giant condo remodeling project. #DIY #selfcare #patience #change Click To Tweet

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  1. Hi Anita! This is such a beautiful and effective analogy for making changes. It really always does take more time than anticipated, but the work is worth the results in the end! I hope all is well in your world, my friend. I am hoping to get back to linking now that life is slowing down a bit for me.


  2. It is amazing how much we learn as we go through a remodeling project. Wonderful analogy. Making changes always takes more time and effort than we think but the results are always worth it.

  3. A lot of change sure does happen in between the before and after for sure. I’ve never done a home renovation project but I’ve done a over haul on myself.
    Thanks for hosting this amazing group and making a great speace for us to gather.
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Anita Ojeda

Anita Ojeda juggles writing with teaching high school English and history. When she's not lurking in odd places looking for rare birds, you can find her camping with her kids, adventuring with her husband or mountain biking with her students.

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