I know this will probably come as a shock, but I'm not perfect. ;)
Yesterday, as I was contemplating something I would like to change about myself, I found myself looking at the future and thinking, "I'll make a brand new start."
That was followed immediately by the bloggable realization that successful brand new starts are few and far between. The reality is that any change that is likely to stick is not a dramatic snap of the fingers change to a better place, but the cumulative effect of consistent effort over time.
That reminded me of a study I had come across where 119 people were asked to describe both a situation where they made a successful change and one where they failed. One of the common characteristics they found of the failed change attempts was an attempt to change simply through will power.
How many times have you made "disposable change," committing to immediate change and then falling back into your old pattern after a short time. If you're anything like me, it's too many to count.
Here are a couple ideas that will help that change stick:
1. Real, substantive change is seldom a quick fix. It needs to be cultivated and nurtured and reinforced. There is no McSolution.
2. Creating a system (both internal and external) that will support change will be much more effective than gritting your teeth and promising yourself to make it happen.
Sometimes people speak of "willpower" as the key to change; motivational gurus exhort large crowds to "will" themselves to a better life. But willpower, too, is of limited use for most people. A day or two after a motivational lecture, the excitement fades and real life returns. The alternative to will is skill, and, fortunately, skills can be learned and mastered. Counselors, therapists--and, yes, even self-help books, videos and Web sites--can teach specific skills which, when practiced regularly, produce real change. We take it for granted that we can learn to drive a car, that we'll hit a few curbs at first, and that we'll eventually drive smoothly. A variety of self-change skills can also be learned and mastered--relaxation skills, stress-management skills and more.
But here's the kicker: We're all taught to drive, but not one of us is taught the basic skills we need for living and changing.
If you have a change to make, ask yourself what your expectations are. Do you expect to wave a magic wand and make it happen? Or are you prepared to get down to the nuts and bolts of it and make it happen on a deep, consistent level?
Passion Catalyst SM