This brief blog is written from a perspective that many will find challenging whilst at the same time many will fully understand my viewpoint. My hope is that by writing it, a few of the “I find this really challenging” crowd will be influenced positively.
We are at the time of year that signifies renewal, moving on, taking decisions and starting over. I think most of us know this is purely symbolic and that we can choose to change and make change at any time. That said, any form of festival that causes people, for whatever reason, to reflect and make positive changes in their lives is a good thing.
The reason for writing this is that I have observed patterns in my behaviour over the years and in that of my clients that affects the power of deciding to change. By paying attention to these fundamentals you can increase the power and the impact of the changes you choose to make.
Rule number one – Choose your attitude
Are you making change from a victim perspective or from a self empowerment perspective?
The victim perspective has an internal dialogue something like this……life isn’t fair, I try my best and it never works out, I’m a victim of circumstance and it’s not my fault my life is not measuring up to whatever expectation I have of it.
The problem with this kind of internal dialogue is that it drives us to desperate, high risk of failure decisions which are often doomed to failure, not backed up by conviction and which are ultimately designed to reinforce the negative internal dialogue we have.
It leads to people setting unrealistically high expectations such as impressive weight loss in a short time or giving up smoking without it being a challenge.
It is the kind of perspective that leads to a mentality that says I am either successful or unsuccessful, a success or a failure. It’s a very black or white mentality which is great way of demoralising, undermining and punishing oneself.
The self empowerment perspective firstly recognises that change can be tough and that actual choosing to change is the first very, very important step. It recognises that it has choice and celebrates that it has choice and recognises that deciding to do nothing is one of the choices that we make. Crucially the self-empowerment perspective takes responsibility for where they are as well as taking responsibility for how they got to where they are now.
I did not become obese over night. It was as a result of my choices that I have been making over a number of years. I did not wake up one day and find myself in a dead end job I hate. This happened over time and is about my choices and my decisions. We all have choice, we all are operating choice all the time and we all (me included) could do with reminding ourselves that our choices are our responsibilities.
Note: some of you reading this will already be justifying your choices and making out that you have no choice. You always have choice!!
In short, if I want to change I have to take responsibilty for my choices from the past, now and going forward.
Rule number 2 – Learn like children
Those with a less than positive viewpoint will see this as simply managing your expectations. The rest of us will see this as accepting we have set ourselves a challenge and knowing it will be challenging we do not expect overnight success. Crucially we will not give up.
Have you ever watched a baby learning to walk? They fall over…..a lot! The thing is they carry on trying and eventually learn to walk. If they did not there would be a whole population of us out there who simply did not learn to walk. Children learn with curiosity, through play and through trial and error. They also persevere and adapt.
Those of us setting ourselves challenges this year would do well to understand that there will be set backs and our attitude will dictate how we deal with them.
Rule number 3 – Accept that change is not easy
Proper, fundamental change that is needed to impact upon our behaviour is not easy. So why punish ourselves when it does not go the way we think it should. Anything that really benefits us comes with a certain amount of pain and effort. If we found things easy all the time then we would not value what they bring us. Ergo, if the change means enough to you then by that very nature it will not be easy, but, it will be valuable to you.
There you are 3 basic rules. For me, when I review choices to change that I am making against these I find my intent to change growing, my ability to change strengthening and crucially I know that I am already changing from within.