Do you want to make a change in your life, but don’t know where to start? Have you thought that you need to plan or prepare better before you do something? How about waiting till the timing was better, or you felt “ready”? I’m not going to engage in black and white thinking and say that you should never do those things because sometimes timing is critical. Occasionally it helps to have a better plan.
But when you actually look at change on a personal level, rather than an organizational, or other large group scale, most of the time, those reasons are really excuses. They are avoidance strategies. Ways to avoid actively working on changing in the here and now. We’ve all done this, I know I have. But when you cut to the heart of the matter, change is possible in any moment. It requires a decision and action. It’s both that simple and that complicated. If it’s that simple, what get’s in the way?
Well, we could spend a lot of time analyzing the factors, and I hope that people will provide their own thoughts and comments on this topic. So, feel free to leave comments and start a discussion. Some people will cite motivation, others will talk about thoughts, feelings, biochemistry, you name it, and there’s a reason that we don’t take action. I think a useful approach with this is to accept that there’s probably valid rationale behind why you haven’t made a decision to change even if you weren’t aware of it. Then don’t spend much more time on this issue, because it can be a never ending quest tracing its roots back to childhood and sometimes spinning in endless circles and loops with the end result being that no change occurs.
What do you do instead (in 5 steps)?
- Begin where you are – Don’t wait for another time, place or circumstance to work on change. Most of the time waiting is avoidance and an excuse.
- Pick an action, any action that brings you closer to your goal.
- Make this action very small so that it is incredibly easy to do. Accomplishing small action builds forward momentum and energy. Yes, I know that many recommend taking massive action. If you are able to do that, then great, go for it!
- Make the action physical and tangible – Even if you need to plan for something, you can make this a physical action. For example – Write down four areas to consider in your plan as a first step, then stop. Or, you could go on if you’d like.
- When your mind tells you that you can’t do it, or some other excuse, notice it and move forward anyways. This re-wires the approach/avoidance systems of the brain.
- Repeat these steps!
When I have coached people on this method, I often have them pick something to change that they aren’t very attached to in order to practice the method. A bit like easing them into weight training. It is possible to change at any moment. Each moment is new. A saying I heard from a Zen master once was, “The past is an illusion and the future is a dream, all that exists is this moment, right now!”
So, change can happen. Right now! If you let it…
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