Real talk. Change is difficult. Or rather, change seems difficult. There’s a simple reason for that. When we are in a situation where we are overwhelmed, tired, stretched in every direction imaginable, and we think we need to change, we find ourselves without the energy or drive to actually carry it through.
So, what is ‘change’?
Growing up, we perform habits or patterns. Change is discarding the old patterns and acquiring new ones. It sounds simple enough. If I want to change, I simply need to adopt new habits that serve me better at a given stage in my life. If I want to become healthier, I make it a habit to eat more vegetables. If I want to become more time-efficient, I plan my days to accommodate commitments and workload, and where need be I turn down engagements that would otherwise wreak havoc on my schedule.
The sticking point becomes obvious when we try to change. If I have developed a habit of always saying yes, I have difficulty becoming time-efficient, despite my best efforts. This is because at one point, after turning down something once, twice, I will go back to my old habit of saying yes. Most smokers will readily admit that the hardest part of quitting is breaking out of the habit of puffing on a cigarette to alleviate stress.
My courses are walking you through the change you desire, the change you need in your life. But in order to make a change, you must be committed to that change. This is because, in order to form a new habit, you need to make a daily decision to follow through on that same new habit and intentionally discard the old one. The process is not about waking up one day to find that you are a new person. It is about taking the principles, applying them, and persisting. By following through, bit by bit, step by step, on your commitment, I guarantee it, you will begin to see that change that you want to see.
It is so much easier committing to other people, other events, to the outside world generally, than we do to ourselves. Why? Because there is usually a tangible benefit to that commitment.
In a relationship, we will commit because it means that the person (we expect) will stay with us. We will have the company and affection we seek. If we commit to a job, we will get our salary, we might even get a promotion. It is harder to see the tangible benefits of committing to ourselves, also, if we decide not to commit, (or to be ‘flakey’ like we talked about last week), well, no one else will know so they can’t judge us. I know you know what I’m talking about.
With that in mind, I want you to set a process for yourself. Set a target, understand what’s in it for you, and then just go for it, full steam ahead!
- GET INTENTIONAL – Decide on what you need to change. This is going to be the target that you will work towards. Do not make this vague, otherwise, you are setting yourself up for failure. Here’s an example: If I say “I want to be successful in 2022”, that seems like a target to work towards. But ultimately, I have given myself no targets to work towards. I’m left with more questions than I have tangible objectives! What is success? What am I succeeding at? How do I know I’ve achieved that objective? Be concrete. And be realistic. Remember, this isn’t a race against time, anyone else, or even yourself. We are working towards actual change. You can refer back to your Queen Behind The Machine workbook from day 4 or 5, to help you with SMART goal setting. I’ve attached day 5 here.
- YOUR WHY – Understand the why of your goals. What do you want and why is it important? Make a list of the benefits you (and others) will reap by committing yourself to that change. I want you to write down every single conceivable advantage, and pin it up and look at it every time a task seems hard or feels useless, boring, or unimportant. What will you be getting out of your commitment to yourself? Is it more money, more time, better health, better relationships, higher self-esteem? Keep your list accessible, and keep adding to it. Because the more you get going, the more benefits you will see. And some of them will be a very pleasant surprise. I am talking for example walking taller into a room because your newly found pride has you throwing your shoulders back! Who would have thought? 😉
- DECIDE DAILY – Make a daily decision to commit. Yes, Queen. This is where you jump in, mentally, and whole-heartedly. Make a firm resolution to yourself that you will provide yourself with the results you are looking for. This is a decision you are making for yourself, to empower yourself, to look after yourself, to get yourself to where you want to be. It’s time to choose yourself, Queen.
- GET UNCOMFORTABLE – It might feel awkward at first, but you need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable in order to form that new habit. Take the first step in achieving your change. What does that look like? Weight loss is the easiest example: you set yourself a workout schedule, and you go on your first jog. Whatever your target is, transform its components into new habits. Make it a habit to take breathing breaks when you feel flustered or overwhelmed (or angry) in the workplace (this has happened to me all too often). When you catch yourself in a negative thought loop, make it a habit to listen to the loop, analyse it, and question it, you know, follow the training. When you find yourself wanting to say yes to something, get into the habit of putting the breaks on the situation, taking a moment, and asking yourself if this is something you can and want to be taking on at that moment in time. Bit by bit, your conscious efforts to reverse a trend will pay off. They will become second nature, and before you know it, a habit will be formed.
- CELEBRATE – Always celebrate, Queen. You deserve it. Remember, no success is too small.
Get going, Queen. Set your target, make that commitment, you got this! And remember, I’m here and our community is here, we’re all ready to support you, to offer the benefit of our experiences, and to share a celebratory dance with you.
Fix Your Crown!