I often ask myself several questions, “Can I really change?”, “Can I help someone else change?”, and “Can someone really change if they want to?” If you’re asking yourself the same things the answer is yes. So take heart, because there is hope. How do I know the answer is yes? Because others have changed. If just one person can change, then hypothetically, anyone can change. This would include both you and I. The real question becomes, HOW can we bring about change?
Now this is a bit more difficult to answer because not everyone’s situation is the same. There are times when change is more difficult than others, but with rare exception, change should be possible. The difficult situations that I am thinking of include addiction, obesity or behavior disorders resulting from chemical imbalances. If you have one of these, you can lead a relatively normal life and you should seek the care of a professional counselor.
For the rest of us, what things can we do to achieve the changes we are seeking. I’m not a counselor, but I am a pretty good observer of people. To change, I believe you need to consider the following:
How badly do you want to change? Many of you will say you want to change. But deep down inside you really don’t. Ouch. Why do I say this? Because change is possible, and you haven’t. I believe the reason so many of us fail, is because we are comfortable. If there is no underlying fear or pain, most of us just won’t do what it takes to really change. So how do we bring about change, if we are comfortable? We need to become uncomfortable which means getting out of our comfort zone.
To begin to change, you have to do something different. You can’t expect to change if you don’t change your environment. This may mean changing your schedule, your job, your location, or perhaps your friends. Let’s take losing weight or getting fit. You won’t succeed if you continue to watch TV every night, eating a “snack”. You need to join a gym. So, what are you going to change in your environment?
For some of us, we need someone to hold us accountable. This means making a public statement about your goal. This may be to a friend or family member. Or it could be to someone like a trainer or coach who is there to help you.
If the change you want to make is substantial, ensure you set small achievable goals so you can measure your progress AND celebrate. It is the small victories that lead to winning the game or the war. If you have small victories, you will feel encouraged to continue.
I know this is probably urban legend, but it’s been said that it takes 21 days to form a habit. So if you want to change, you have to make it to 21 days. Make a commitment to try something different 21 different times. Noticed I didn’t say days here. If you go to the gym every other day, 21 days really means 42. If you are going to a Toastmaster’s meeting to improve your speaking ability, 21 days might translate to 21 weeks if you only go once a week. Make a commitment, to get to 21!
All the best!
All the time!