7 Steps to Successful Change 2

17 December 2009, by A. Cedilla

To recap, the first two steps to successful change are 1) paying attention and realizing that there is a need for conscious change, and 2) choosing to change. Or not.

The next three steps on the way to successful change moves you from the contemplation stage to the analysis stage. This second stage will involve you weighing your options and calculating just what it is you need to give up to get what you really need and want for a better life.

After taking stock of your life in the first two steps (hopefully you took very good notes), now is the time to pull up all the information you came up with and use them.

3. Check out the options.
What else is out there? And don’t just use your opinion as a guideline for what’s good enough.

An opinion is an emotional judgment on an issue based on your feelings, your experience and knowledge on a subject. Emotions can cloud judgment, and the experience is all on your side, so you won’t know the other side of the issue. Be cool. Don’t lock the possibilities out first off.

Ask around, ask for other people’s opinions (they’re not as involved as you are and that distance can help. But prepare a few grains of salt, just in case.)

When you ask people for information, you’re multiplying your brainpower effortlessly, tapping their experience and knowledge base to amass a more comprehensive picture of the options open to you, a picture you can’t make based only on your own experience.

Do some hard research and dig for the facts, the hard data. Use that, the feedback you’ve gathered, and your notes from Stage One to get a better picture of what’s out there.

4. Count the cost.
What will you have to give up? Your comfort, for one. You want to get in shape, there are lots of ways to incorporate the needed changes into your life, but sitting on your ass and wishing for a better body isn’t one of them.

You give up you comfort and work for what you want more than that comfort. It’s that simple, and that hard.

You give up what you have for something you want more. You let go of watching the late night news to get a more restful sleep.

You let go of sleeping past 5:30 AM so you can do the writing on your novel before the rest of the household gets up to claim your attention.

You let go of your grudges and injured feeling to make room in your life for better emotions and the people who elicit them in you.

There’s always a trade-off, and money isn’t the most obvious, the first or the heaviest one.

5. Be aware of resistance
Homeostasis tends to keep us where we are, in a relatively stable condition.

We can tolerate uncomfortable situations for a long time for many reasons: we know how to handle that particular discomfort, “It’s not that bad, it could be worse, what’re you gonna do, man? That’s just the way it is.”

Internal resistance to change can be adjusted if you’re aware of where that resistance is coming from and are willing to the work needed to deal with it, and not just for one time, but over and over until it becomes a positive habit.

And it won’t just be you, but all the systems you’re a part of. Your family, your business associates, they have a vested interest in you staying the way you are (homeostasis applies to a system, not just you in particular), and won’t always be open to you rocking the boat.

Again, we’ll leave you with these three steps (and some advice to keep in mind) so you can do them before continuing on to the next installment.

“First ask yourself: What is the worst that can happen? Then prepare to accept it. Then proceed to improve on the worst.”
Dale Carnegie

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