Tuesday, May 7, 2013

5 Keys for Affecting Change in Your Life

“We change when the pain to change is less than the pain to remain as we are.”
Motivational Speaker Ed Foreman
Your mind knows a million things that you want to change about your life.  It could be the balance on your credit card, the number on your scale, or the number on your paycheck.  You could also wish to change something more intangible; how you treat others, how you allow yourself to be treated, or how you feel about yourself.

Regardless of what your goals are, here are a few tips to help you get through your life change:

  • Accept that people will resist your desire to change.  Even those who love you and want the best for you are used to you behaving in a certain way.  Your behavior and attitudes are part of their routine too.  And if you change that, that may make others uncomfortable.  Maybe your workmates feel threatened by the class you take to build your skills.  Maybe your friend misses you at happy hour.  Maybe someone you know is used to getting their way and not having your opinion to consider.  It’s not necessarily malicious, but be prepared to meet with some resistance when people notice you are trying to make a change.  It’s natural, and not a reason to give up.
  • Change is a skill.  If you knew how to make the change you want, you’d already be there, right?  You may have an idea of how to get there, but there’s no better way to get a roadmap than to ask someone who has done it themselves.  Seek out someone who has affected the kind of change in their lives that you also want, and ask them how they did it.  Not everyone wants to mentor another person through that process, so you may have to ask a few.  The internet is a fabulous tool for this.  Regardless of your goal, I guarantee you have your pick of online communities who are there to support you.
  • Plan for the hurdles. You know yourself better than anyone, so you know your weaknesses and your strengths.  Use this information to plan for those times when you’re going to try to sabotage yourself.  It’s going to take some forethought to prepare you for the times when you’re too tired to make that healthy dinner, want to miss class this once, or when you otherwise cannot avoid a situation that reinforces old habits.
  • A mistake isn’t the end. Imagine that every day you do something that gets you closer to your change goal is a deposit into your bank account.  Each day you behave in the way that is going to get you there, you’re making a deposit; an investment in your future.  So when you slip up and have a day where you didn’t stick to your regimen, or you reverted to old behavior, you didn’t make a deposit, but your account isn’t wiped out either.  One day of mistakes doesn’t negate all the progress you have made thus far.  In fact, each mistake you make, or situation you don’t handle well is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and plan how to avoid that in the future.
  • Change is uncomfortable, often painful. Remember the quote from the beginning of this article? “We change when the pain to change is less than the pain to remain as we are”.  If change were easy, everyone would be doing it.  Dieting, motivation, career advancement, and self-development wouldn’t be billion dollar industries.  Each time you make a change decision, whether it’s standing up for your rights in a relationship, or learning a skill for work, or treating yourself better for your health, you are choosing that decision because it’s better than the alternative-to accept things the way they were. 
In the end, nobody has ever had someone else make a change for them.  When you change your life, you might do it with knowledge, support, and mentoring…but YOU are the one doing it.  You are the one with the power over your actions, and you are the one who deserves to shape your life. Go get ‘em!

Joyce Abbott Holds a BA in Anthropology and an MA in Library Science.  She has worked in for-profits, non-profits, and local government everywhere from customer service, to librarianship, to corporate records management.  She believes the point of life is to never stop growing and pushing yourself into something new.  You can connect with Joyce on Linkedin.com!



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