Long Term Change?
Updated: Feb 28, 2019
How often do you make a new years resolution or decide to turn over a new leaf but no real lasting results seem to occur? Perhaps you need to go a little deeper with your thinking? Writing down some concrete actions with support on how to follow through will help you stay on track.
"Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone." Robert Allen
In order to experience lasting change, here are some concepts that will help you think about who you are, how you are influenced, where you want to go, and how to get there.
From the dictionary, "align yourself with" means to support, agree with, or form an alliance with a particular person or idea. When you are not in alignment, you are not living out your life according to your beliefs and values. This center alignment will impact your life and have a marked difference in how you respond to situations. Once you see that your alignment is "off," you need to readjust and get back on track.
For a Christian, the ultimate in adjustment is “not my will but Your will be done.” We can be self-centered and self-seeking and we need to get back into alignment with who we are serving. We tend to be double minded and unstable and therefore we need to be constantly reminded of our purpose, beliefs and values.
The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. Socrates
In order to get back to your center alignment and adjust your life accordingly, you need to become more aware of who you are being, how you view the world (your lens or perspective), what makes you act the way you do and what changes you need to make.
Understanding who you are, who you are serving (yourself, others, God) and having a healthy sense of who you are is the first step in this process of change. Slow down and take some time for self-reflection. We need to become more aware of our cognitive emotional behaviors or habits and our personal reactivity (anger, negative reactions) so that we begin to make more intentional choices. As you begin to grow in self-awareness, your choices and actions will line up with your values and lead you moving in the right direction.
With new awareness comes adjustment. They go hand in hand. Adjustment leads to a change of heart and mind, resulting in changed behavior and a change in direction.
Accept the awareness that you discover about yourself. Consider the things you don`t like and then admit that you need to change. Examining yourself honestly means that you judge yourself without justifying or defending certain behaviors or actions. This requires authenticity as you think from a healthy view of who you are. It is not about self-condemnation.
Being very critical of yourself or arrogant and proud are two extreme views that hinder an honest conversation. Ask someone you are close to about how they see your actions. How do you respond in a stressful situation? If you tend to react in more negative ways, what is causing that personal reactivity? To what effect do your beliefs about the world or people and your perspectives on life affect how you relate to yourself and others? Give yourself some grace as you work through accepting what needs to change.
Actions are steps that begin the adjustment process. This is the hard part. From the dictionary, an action means "the process of doing something, typically to achieve an aim," or "the accomplishment of a thing usually over a period of time, in stages, or with the possibility of repetition." Actions are about being proactive in getting up and doing something so you can go somewhere! First, you need to decide on action steps so you can start moving forward. You cannot be passive and just casually think about it. It involves setting up an intentional plan that will be in line with your goals and vision.
For example: You want to be more patient with people.
How are you going to do that?
What would a tangible plan look like that will help you become more disciplined in this area? How will you remind yourself to do this?
Where could your plan fail? (think ahead of possible things that may hinder you so that you are prepared)
Write down your plan of action and decide how you are going to support yourself to make sure you follow through and succeed.
These new actions will begin to form new habits for the long term.
"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." Jim Ryan
Sometimes answering to yourself is not enough, depending on your situation and personality. Holding yourself accountable to others may offer the shift for success you are looking for? Perhaps you need to be pushed, feel some discomfort and answer to someone else other than yourself?
Seriously, I think that accountability is overlooked and I believe that if we would hold ourselves accountable more often, we would be more proactive, productive and intentional about getting results.
"In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety." Abraham Maslow
Behavior is something you get to choose; it is conscious conduct. Small decisions will change behavior as new habits form. Repeating the actions over and over again will change habits. Reactions are old habits and no longer valid beliefs and after many months of adapting new actions, you should no longer want to go back to old habits especially when you see the affects of change in your life.
Continue consistently. It takes at least 6 months to form new lasting habits. Alignment and Adjustment are continuous and ongoing.
As a life coach, I come alongside my clients and support them in their journey.
I would love to hear from you.