Most of us, and that goes for me too, are creatures of habit. We fall into a routine, which if not kept in check, can quickly become a life-sucking rut. When our routine becomes a perceptible negative factor in our daily lives, it’s time for change.
Change is tricky however, because change, when done just for the sake of doing or being something different, isn’t necessarily a good thing.
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Why change fails
We can’t genuinely effect positive change if we’re not prepared for the change itself. To change our lives for the positive, we need to plan and prepare for it and not just “wing it.”
Change can fail when we don’t face up to it. We can sense that a change is needed, but we keep putting it off and not facing up to it — we shove it to the back of our mind because subconsciously, we dread that lasting change requires.
Say you want to lose 20 lbs. You know you want to lose the weight and perhaps even need to, but if you head straight into a diet without being fully committed or doing some planning, odds are that you’ll fail. The failure isn’t you, but rather, is the fact that you didn’t think it through — this leads to feelings of frustration and that can lead to giving up on your efforts.
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou
Mental prep: we can’t effectively change what we’re not ready to quit
Our habits sneak up on us and before we realize it, they’ve become routine; that routine defines us and when we look back, we realize we were just meandering through life. Breaking that routine requires conscious effort. So in the case of the diet, if before you actually start your diet you mentally prepare and plot out your strategy, odds are improved that you’ll reach your goal.
In the book “Untethered Soul“ author Michael Singer says “Your energy should come from within you.” In other words, we can and should be the source for our own passion and vigor — if we want to make a change in our life, then we should be prepared to do so with passion and determination.
“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” – Albert Einstein
Effective and beneficial change, including the impetus for the change, needs to come from within. The first step is to fully acknowledge that a change is needed. We can’t just think “I need to change” and then set about randomly trying something new — something that is different doesn’t automatically translate into a beneficial change. Ideally, we first need to acknowledge (confront) what needs to be changed, commit to it in our minds and strategize how to bring about that change.
Benjamin P. Hardy, author of How To Change Your Life In 30 Days, writes: “Your identity is not fixed, but highly fluid. Your identity follows your behaviors.” According to Hardy, there should always be an actual “flow of habit change” — meaning that we shouldn’t necessarily try to bring about a change suddenly, but rather, should ease into it. Easing into means acknowledging through self-reflection, understanding what and why we want to change and, preparing for that change.
I firmly believe that people who succeed in life are those who engage in positive self-reflection. They take the time to envision where they want to be and plot out how they’ll get there. Positive change isn’t always easy, but with the right mind-set, the end result is well worth the journey.
“Change your thoughts and you change your world.” – Norman Vincent Peale