I've really got to change my ....
This is the season for resolutions. Yet like other people, you could have a difficult time doing what is in your own best interests. Why is that? What can you do to be really effective?
Let's assume that you are interested in making big and important changes to who you are or what your situation is. You find yourself saying, "I've really got to ...." Those changes could be to your weight, exercise program, relationships or career, among others.
What holds you back from going all the way in the change? The problem most likely is the transition itself - the process of going from where you are to where you want to be. The transition can involve a cost of time, money or pain. You must take the costs into account, or you will not succeed.
There are the four key areas that can be the difference between success and failure in making important changes in your life: committing to the change, developing the plan to change, preparing to change in spite of problems, and just doing it. This blog will discuss the first two of the key areas.
1. Committing to the change - knowing exactly where you are going
You are never going to be successful in carrying through the change until you are committed to it. That commitment must be more than a wish or a dream or a resolution. Especially if the change is difficult, you must have the "no matter what" attitude. This takes courage and faith.
You must be prepared to focus on this change if it is important enough for you to be committed to doing it. Simplify your life while making the change, if you can, so that you can concentrate on it.
To end up somewhere new, you have to know where you are going. Just what is your vision? Why is it important to you? Defining your vision is absolutely critical for success. Spend time literally describing, in writing, what your new life will be like. The more detailed you are, the better, because the detail can drive your passion and commitment. What is the situation, what do you hear and see and smell and taste? Later on if you get sidetracked, you will need to keep coming back to your vision so that you can bring yourself back on course.
Procrastination is a huge issue. Why make a change today if you really do not need to? What difference does a day make? Why give up activities that you are familiar with and maybe even enjoy on a day-to-day basis for the uncertainties and difficulties of change? Why go out of your comfort zone?
You can use a new year, a birthday or other milestone as an excuse to get started. But if it so important to change, why wait?
2. Developing a plan for change - figuring out how to get there
Determine what the concrete steps are that you will need to take. What will they cost in time and money? What is your timeframe? Think about what you will give up during the transition, because the transition will cost you time and money, both of which are finite.
It will help you to break your change into many small and doable steps. You need to be able to say, "This step is not so bad. I can do it."
The best plans are always written down for many reasons: written plans facilitate sharing and feedback, permit you to come back later and recall your approach, and serve as a guide to manage your change, especially if you set milestones for your journey.
How to carry out the steps in the plan may not necessarily be obvious to you. What do you need to figure out? What have other people done? What has worked and not worked? Having a clear vision and a written preliminary plan will help you identify what you need to find out.