Think you can’t change? Making changes is traditionally difficult, but the good news is that it’s never too late to make changes for the better. The first step is to understand what’s important to you, and then determine the choices and decisions that represent where you want to be. Maybe you want to start a new career, lose weight, stop smoking, or start exercising. Whatever the change is, be sure you understand why you want to make the change.
Take a moment to think about a time in your life when you made a successful change or developed a new habit. What was your motivation for the change? What was your attitude at the time? What obstacles or barriers did you have to overcome? Your level of readiness to change will determine how successful you are, and how much time it will take. Once you make the decision to change, you must practice that new behavior one day at a time until it becomes a habit – a lasting change.
Embracing the concept of change is a big thing, because interestingly, many people think they don’t have a choice when it comes to change. Why? For some it’s fear, guilt, love, pain, time management or even a court order. What motivates one person may not be the same thing that gets another person to act. Everyone reacts differently to changes, whether voluntary or mandatory.
To start making a change, let go of certain assumptions or ways of doing things, to make room for new ideas. Work on this one day at a time until you feel comfortable. To make a lasting change, you start wherever you are and stretch a tiny bit more each time. If you fall off the wagon, or experience resistance, identify the cause or circumstances— who you were with, where you were, or your emotional state. The key is to get up and get back on the path again. You may go back and forward a few times because making a lasting change is hard. Your level of readiness to change will determine how successful you are, and how much time it will take. But you need to be ready, able and willing to make change happen.
I was at work one day, calling on a customer who wasn’t answering her phone. Her voice mail message started out in the usual way, “…we’re not home, leave a message…” what followed was not so usual. It continued, “…by the way, we’ve recently made some changes in our life, if we don’t call you back, you’re one of the changes, beeeep”. My first reaction was disbelief at what was probably one of the rudest messages I had ever heard (and I’ve heard quite a few!). But I couldn’t get it off my mind, and by the end of the day I had changed my perspective. I began to admire this woman, who was obviously at the end of her rope. She was very determined, for whatever reason, to end relationships that were affecting her life in a negative way.
Change is never easy, especially when it requires us to dramatically alter the way we’ve become accustomed to living our lives. Leaving our comfort zone, no matter how much we dislike it, requires a combination of bravery and determination, as well as education in that area.
Many times, we’re so desperate to better ourselves, we hastily make ineffective and, sometimes expensive, decisions that we feel will quickly produce the results we are looking for. Purchasing a costly gym membership and vowing to attend seven days a week while surviving on lettuce, may seem like a great idea for a few weeks (if you’re very determined,) but how long can you live like that?
Ready, Set, Change!
If you’re serious about making a long-term change in your life, take these steps to ensure your success:
1. Educate Yourself
Aside from determination, education is the most important key to your success. Knowing exactly what you must do to accomplish your goals will give you the power to make them a reality. Consult a professional or check out a book written by a credible authority on the subject. You can also tap the wealth of information to be found on the Internet. Friends and acquaintances can also provide insight. I have a good friend who is very organized, an area in which I am always trying to improve. Over the years I have learned a great deal from watching her manage her incredibly busy life.
2. Set Reasonable Goals
You are not going to lose 30 pounds in two weeks. Nor are you going to undo years of financial irresponsibility in six months. After becoming educated, you will get a realistic picture of how long it will be before you should expect to see results. Having this knowledge upfront will prevent you from giving up too soon.
3. Plan and Track
If you’re trying to accomplish something that requires long-term commitment, purchase a journal or notebook to write down your short- and long-term goals. Detail how you will carry them out and when you will complete them. Check each item off as you accomplish it. Keeping a journal to record your achievements can be motivating on those days when you feel like sliding back to your old ways.
This Journal has dual purpose as it also doubles as a book of Inspiration, Motivation, & Determination Quotes as well. As you contemplate steps to be taken to experience better life outcomes and be your best self, writing your goals and actionable steps down is a proven means of improving your chances of accomplishment and success. The Meaningful Life Coaching Signature Journal provides a medium for you to express your thoughts and ideas as you use the strategies gained from the Meaningful Life Coaching blog. This journal is available in floral, butterfly or businessman.
Go here to grab your copy of the Meaningful Life Signature Journal
4. Just Say No
Avoid situations that will prevent you from accomplishing your goals. This is especially important in the beginning before your new way of life comes natural to you.
5. Pat Yourself on the Back
Be proud of yourself for making the decision to improve your quality of life. When you reach important milestones, reward yourself in a way that is in sync with your new lifestyle. A new outfit is a great reward for losing weight but would be considered a setback if you’re trying to cut back on spending!
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