7 Steps to Successful Change 1

14 December 2009, by A. Cedilla

The year’s almost over, and now is the time to think about what you did well in the past twelve months…as well as the other things that didn’t quite go the way you planned.

The dying time of the year is the traditional time to remember and reflect on that year’s triumphs and mishaps, so you can learn from them and strive to do better in the coming year.

Here are the first two of seven steps to making a successful change, and make for an awesomer –yes, we know it’s a made-up word — new year.

1. Recognize a growing discomfort with what is, with the status quo.

As a rule, we are never fully satisfied with what we have for long. Once the shine wears off our eyes go back to looking over the fence, wondering what we’re probably missing, and checking to see the particular shade of grass on the other side…

It’s also ironic, and completely true, that we also tend to stay in uncomfortable situations for far too long.

Lest the two seemingly unrelated ideas confuse you, here’s where they connect: We often stay too long in uncomfortable situations because of various reasons, and in an effort to deal with the pain, we look to getting new stuff to ‘fix it’.

Only, the new stuff is new only for so long, and the makeshift solution only masks the discomfort, not addresses it.

So, to deal with the dissatisfaction, you keep getting more new stuff (“It didn’t work, there must be something wrong, better go get a better thingamawhatzit…”), not seeing to the root cause.

Look at your life, over time, and in the past 12 months. Feel free to change from present to past tense in the following sentences: What hurts? Where is it hurting? What’s happening?

  • Pay attention to the areas in your life where you encounter constant irritants, chronic worries, and niggling fears. Find the discomfort.
  • Find where the friction is. Friction tells you you’re being rubbed raw, paying attention tells you where, and your reactions are sign posts to things that you aren’t meant just to “fix ” (like a one-time only patch), but to become more from.

2. Realize that you have only 2 options: stay the same or change. (Well, one logical choice, really.)

Only 2 options and even not choosing means you’ve decided to accept the situation by default. The scary thing about this? You have no one else to blame. No, really.

“I can’t help it, they/it/the circumstances made me, it’s im-possible.”
Look around you. There are people who made incredible lives for themselves after living through appalling conditions, or in spite of, or even because of them.
The remarkable people often featured on the news are only a small fraction of the quiet heroes in our midst who continue to better themselves without fanfare. You don’t need to make a big deal about it, you just need to do it.


“That’s them. You don’t know my circumstances. I can’t, I just CANT”
Keep telling yourself that. You say you can’t. You believe you can’t. So…you don’t.

We told you, there’s no one else to bear that final responsibility. No one to lose the weight for you, fix the procrastination for you, change the credit-card habit for you, stop the hair-trigger temper for you…oh, so many things the circumstances and They can’t change for you. So you have to make the change for yourself.

This fear is well-founded. Taking ownership of that kind of responsibility is awe-full, as well as awful. But it’s worse when you reach the end of your days only to realize it was never Them all along that was holding you back. And that’s sad.

Look at it another way, however, and the flip-side of choosing to change is that you have no else to attribute the success to, and stand in awe of. How’s that?

Now, the preceding passages ask for some heavy-duty thinking, so we’ll leave off at these two steps first so you can do them before continuing on to the next installment. Until then, kindly go forth and ponder.

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