Last month’s column was about changing your body. This month, the subject is how to make changes in other areas of your life. Over the last half a century, I have learned that big changes in life often are the result of a series of smaller changes, which collectively will add up to the big changes people are looking for (or try to avoid.) Whether the changes are physical, mental, economical or emotional, change can be very scary.
Sometimes, people who know they need to make changes in their lives stay stuck in their circumstances because they are too fearful to do what needs to be done. Some feel fear of failure, fear of pain, or simply are fearful because they do not know how to tackle a situation. With tough times, hard economics, and record unemployment numbers, many people are experiencing unwanted changes in their life—changes that are happening because the world we live in is changing.
Change can be hard on a person—that is nothing new—but with proper preparation and action, change can be a good thing. Change should not be avoided out of fear, but embraced because of its possibilities. People are courageous and adaptable creatures by nature and have changed and evolved since the beginning of time. They survived wars and disasters, and what did not kill them made them stronger. I believe that has not changed.
Who a person used to be does not define who a person is- or will become. It is only natural that people change with the times and their circumstances. It is what makes the world go round.
At Tony Robbins Life Mastery University I learned some ingredients for a strategy for change that I want to share with you. This strategy is made up of things most people already know but do not apply.
To make major life changes it is helpful to first make the smaller changes that will facilitate the big changes. To do that, a person has to start by seeing his or her life for what it really is, and their issues for what they really are, not smaller, not greater. This requires incorruptible self-honesty, self-awareness, and a dose of common sense. The question to ask oneself is: Who am I and what do I want? Then, it is time to make the conscious decision to create change.
What are the changes you are looking for and what should these changes lead to? What is the goal.
Define your goals:
Have a detailed vision of what your goals are and how achieving these goals will look, feel and be like. Imagine it, see it, feel it. Play and replay it as a slow-motion movie in your mind when you close your eyes. Design it in your imagination. If you can dream it, you can do it.
Find out what is holding you back:
What are the real problems you are facing? What is the root problem that prevents the changes you seek from happening? How can this problem be solved? What would need to happen?
If needed, change your surroundings:
For true and long lasting change to fully take effect, a person may have to change his or her environment. It is important to surround yourself with like-minded people or move in an environment that will support the changes you seek. Sometimes change can cause resentment. Resentment will come from people who don’t want you to change.
If your friends cannot support your pursuit of betterment, it may be time to find new friends. If it is hard to get away from bad influences, you may need to move away. Whatever it is, surrounding yourself with people who support your growth and quest for self-improvement will greatly increase your chances for success.
Find what can help move you forward:
What can you do to move towards change? What’s the first change that has to be made? Which change will yield the greatest gain? What small changes can be made to support that change and achieve the defined goals? Find the answer(s) to this question and you will be well on your way to change.
It will help to research those who have gone before you and have done what you want to do. No matter what changes you are looking for, someone at some point in time has done what you are trying to do. In this age of information and technology, research has become much more accessible, use it. It will save you time in the long run.
Shift your focus to what can make it work:
Concentration and focus should be on finding the answer to: What can make it work? Focusing on a solution is far more beneficial than lingering too long on a problem. This is because focus often ends in reality. Change your attitude from I can’t to I can. This may be the first change that needs to be made in order for the bigger changes to happen.
Let go of who you were before:
It is easy to think that change is only for others. It is easier for many people to feel victimized and try to milk sympathy from the people around them. Talking change is easy, creating change takes courage and perseverance. If you want to change, you will have to live the change and not hold on to the past. Letting go will make room for the change to become long lasting. If you want to be better than the person you were before, drop the behaviors that have held you back and start thinking, responding and acting like the person you are ready to become. Change your thoughts, actions and behaviors and you’ll notice that change will happen as the result.
Life happens and circumstances occur that can pause the most sincere of intentions and the best of plans. Make sure that postponement does not become procrastination.
Take massive action and remember that the smallest step forward is still getting you closer to your goals. Make sure to every day do something to move toward a goal. Do it fast, do it slow, just do something. If you keep at it, it will happen.