Okay, we are now well into February. Most New Year’s resolutions have long passed into history and life goes on as usual.
Is living life “as usual” satisfying to you? Many people say it’s not and try to make positive changes but they seem to hit wall after wall in their efforts to set a different life trajectory. Why is that? And how can you overcome the obstacles to change?
Let’s start with the first question. Why is change so hard?
Once a habit has found its way into your life, it can take a lot of work to scale it back. One theory, created by Richard Beckhard and David Gleicher and refined by Kathie Dannemiller, looks like this:
D * V * F > R
In other words, there must be real (D)ISSATISFACTION with the current state of affairs. As well, there as to be a (V)ISION of a desired future or of what’s possible and (C)LARITY about the feasibility of the (F)IRST STEPS toward that vision. Finally, the dissatisfaction must be greater than the (R)ESISTANCE TO CHANGE.
Great theory—and, I believe, there is great truth in it. But people often love the results of the work but not necessarily the work itself. Is change even possible?
YES! But it must come from you, from
who you are and what you want to become
So, how can you overcome the obstacles to change?
- It starts with goals. But not just any goals. You must set goals that are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-sensitive).
- If the big goal seems unachievable, you can break it down into smaller, more achievable weekly—or even daily—goals. Then, celebrate your small achievements! We tend to focus on what we didn’t do well so make sure you give yourself the credit for what you did well, no matter how small that achievement might seem. Remember, big achievements are usually made up of a lot of small ones.
- It starts with you. Nobody else can make the decision for you to change. Ask yourself: Why do I care about this change? How does it align with my purpose in life and who I am? Do I even want that change badly enough? What would happen if that change didn’t occur? You might be surprised to discover that it wasn’t all that important. The change has to come from you, from who you are and who you want to become.
- The change has to be positive. This is a tough one. Our brains have a negative bias. This was a good thing when we had to determine if that sound was the wind blowing through the trees or a tiger in the bushes. Now, the negative brain is a force we have to overcome if we want positive change. Here’s the good news: Our brains can change! Scientists call it neuroplasticity. Small things, repeated over time, can actually change the physical structure of your brain in a positive way.
- Speaking of changing your brain. . . Try not to think of a blue Ferrari. It’s tough, isn’t it? When someone says something—or you say something to yourself—it’s hard not to think about that thing. Use that to your advantage! If you are trying to eat less chocolate, your brain thinks about chocolate all day long. Instead, focus on its replacement. For example, think about avocados (the thing you want), not chocolate (the thing you don’t want). If you are diligent, you can change your brain—and you will soon be eating more avocados quite naturally. You decide to do this. Nobody else. It’s worth remembering that you are the result of your past decisions. Where you put your attention today, will inform what you become tomorrow.
- If the big goal seems unachievable, you can break it down into smaller, more achievable weekly—or even daily—goals. Then celebrate your achievements!
- Find a way to visualize your progress through journaling, pictures or graphs. This will both allow you to see your success and create momentum. For many people, having an “accountability buddy” is invaluable. Ask a friend or your coach to check on you. Sometimes, just by stating a goal out loud or, better yet, writing it down, makes it more real.
- You have to clearly state what you will have achieved and what you will see, feel and hear when you have reached your goal. You’ll know you’ve arrived at your destination only if there is sign at the railway station with your destination’s name on it, right? It’s the same with this journey. Paint a clear picture in your mind of what success looks like so you’ll recognize it when you arrive.
- Start NOW. Don’t wait until Monday or January 1st or your next birthday. Start right now to build the life you want. If you put it off for even a minute, you don’t want it badly enough.
The more you think about something, the more likely that thinking will become your reality.
Nobody said it would be easy. Although it is completely up to you to make your goals happen, there is no need to take this journey alone. As a coach, I can give you the support you need. Maybe you need assistance clarifying your goals or making them SMART. Maybe you just need someone to hold you accountable. In either case, I can help you find your unique pathway to success.
If this sounds like a journey you’d like to take, why not get in touch or register right now for a free coaching session? I’d love to hear from you.