3 Steps to Changing You
So as we get to mid-February, many people will have already failed in their fruitless routine of making and then not fulfilling their New Year’s resolutions. Those great ideas that we had to change our lives are simply that, ideas, without a plan they are simply dreams. Goals are your dreams with a plan of action. When you have Goals, then and only then, can you start to really instigate changes in your life. What are the 3 Steps to Changing You? We will discuss these in this blog.
Recently on my trip to Japan, I stepped out of my comfort zone on many occasions and did things for the first time. Navigating my way around the subway, learning how to ski, going up to the edge of Tokyo Tower (I do not like heights, so this a big achievement!) and ordering food, many times without an English menu available. Another thing that I decided to do was visit the Snow Monkeys on my own. To get to the Snow Monkey National Park, I had to catch 2 different shuttle buses and spend 3 hours traveling, one way.
Unfortunately the resort staff were not very helpful with English instructions, so I was largely left to my own devices and intuition to get myself to the Park. I left the resort to stand in a car park in the snow to catch my first shuttle bus at 9am, I travelled through the icy forests, seeing trees laden with snow, it had been the heaviest snow storm in 30 years apparently.
I managed to find the second shuttle bus amongst the chaos of the Akakuna Ski Resort village without too much trouble. This village was heaving with people almost skiing and snowboarding onto the road, the atmosphere was exciting and extremely busy. The next shuttle bus took 2 hours, at times I was surprised the driver could see where he was driving, the snow storm was so thick and the wipers on the bus seemed rather redundant.
Upon arrival at the National Park I had to trek 1.8km up a snow/black ice covered mountain track, without railings, to see the adorable snow monkeys. Finding free Wi-Fi in the museum meant I could touch base with everyone and let them know, I had made it safely to the National Park. The shuttle bus drivers did not speak English, I do not speak Japanese – yet I ventured out on my own and had a wonderful first time experience. And you know what I am about to ask you now … When was the last time that you did something for the first time?
Ok let’s jump back into the blog and discuss the 3 Steps to Changing You. In order to make any lasting changes in your life you must undertake the following steps –
► Decide ►Do Something Different ► Repeat to Create New Habits
The first step is to – DECIDE – until you actually make a decision, you will never have the motivation to make changes. It all starts when you decide, enough is enough, when you are at that pain point, when staying the same is no longer serving you.
It does not matter what area of your life you want to change, your relationship, your finances, your health, your career path, your education, it all starts when you are serious about having something different in your life. When you make a decision you are consciously choosing a different path. This is important to note as prior to that decision, you were stuck on the same path, same trajectory, in the same habit patterns, producing the same outcomes. When you decide, you take your fate into your own hands and make a choice to create a new future.
If you are unsure where to start, seek help, ask your friends where they see your strengths. Ask yourself what is it that you enjoying doing? Not starting because you have not mapped out every single detail, is just an excuse to keep you stuck. Make a decision and move forward, you can change and alter your path as you move along, but you absolutely must start to hope for any difference and positive changes in your life.
A friend of mine, is paralysed by the fear of doing anything new. She uses the excuse of having children to not go out and meet a new partner, her children are no longer young, they are 18 and 14 years old. She has excuses for not building the house she has always dreamed of building. She has excuses of why she never has any time to catch up with friends. For every proposition that I would put before her, she will have an excuse as to why she cannot do/achieve or have it!
In Neuro Linguistic Programming we would say that this woman is in ‘Effect’, everything in the world is happening to her, it is beyond her control, she is filled with excuses or reasons. The opposite side of this equation is being at ‘Cause’, where you are in control of your destiny and you have results.
My friend is a work in progress, I still have faith that I can get her to the other side and be at Cause, well I live in hope anyway!
The second step is to – DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT – In order to create change you must do something differently, clearly your current behaviours/choices/habits are keeping you in your current situation. To remove yourself from this situation you must do things differently.
To give you an example a client came to me with relationship issues, this is very common when undergoing fertility treatment. When we discussed the issues it was clear that he was blaming everything on his partner. Now let us consider the concept of ‘projection as perception’ often the faults we pick out in others, are directly related to the deficits we perceive in ourselves. This is particularly obvious when we are sitting in judgement of others, when you find yourself in this position, it is important to ask yourself, what exactly about that situation is causing you to feel that way. So the work involved first of all, working with the client himself. When you are in alignment and do the work on yourself first, all your relationships will change.
It is important to remember that our past experiences have emotions attached to them, if you can remember a pivotal time in your life, your equivalent of 9/11, you will be able to recall exactly where you were and what you are doing at that specific time, primarily because of the emotion involved with that event.
For every situation you find yourself in, you will draw from your past. What you know, will determine how you will respond, generally this will be according to similar behaviours and patterns you have used previously.
People will often complain about their partners, yet the common denominator in all their relationships is the very person complaining! That person needs to change and do the work on themselves first. Then they will draw the right relationship and partner to them.
How do you do something different though? Have a goal in mind that you want to achieve, what specifically do you want to change. Write it down in detail. Then plan the steps to make it happen. Is there somebody else doing what you want to do? Do you need to undertake training to obtain new skills? Can you enlist anyone to help you obtain it? How long will you plan to achieve the goal?
If you have health goals, look at your nutrition, sleep and exercise. Increasing your movement daily with small adjustments will make your goals more achievable. Where can you introduce movement into your day? People who complain they do not have time, need help with scheduling – a daily diary of what you do at home will quickly show you where time can be allocated to movement/exercise. Mentors or Role Models, other people who are doing what you want to do, study them, read their content, do what they did, sometimes you do not have to reinvent the wheel – just follow others and bring your unique gifts to the table.
At this time of year when many people have already reneged on New Year’s resolutions, perhaps you can make your New Year’s Plan, it is not too late. Setting achievable goals, each step is taking you closer to where you want to be, it is vital that you make these steps small, because if the tasks are too big, you will give up prematurely. Goals for the first quarter, courses to attend, coaching to keep you on track, all things to consider and plan at this time.
Even the smallest change can make a huge impact. I will give you an example, a client came to me about her military husband, how could she cope with a husband is so fastidious about a clean home. Knowing his personality with only a couple of small adjustments she made a massive difference. Cleaning up the kitchen every evening after dinner time, something my client could not be bothered doing normally – meant now every evening they could spend time together in a clean environment. A very small task, made a massive difference, it was noticed without my client saying a word, just doing the job, it took only 10 minutes. A very small task for a big reward. The client was not trying to change her husband, just doing 1 thing differently – the ripple effect in her relationship was incredible.
Another clients husband had an affair whilst they were in the middle of fertility treatment, which is not uncommon as I have witnessed. Why? Where is the focus in this relationship, is enough time being spent on the relationship? Because the reality is you are either growing or dying – especially in relationships. If you do not do the work on your relationship it will suffer.
The long lasting marriages simply do not exist anymore without continual work, when people are unhappy, they stray and leave. I know of one couple who have not had sex for the last 15 years. They have a comfortable home in Melbourne, investment properties and 3 grown children, yet they stay married and living as house mates, out of comfort. This is existing and not living and neither of them are very happy!
So back to the second couple with the affair, small changes in the relationship, such as date nights, daily connection, even just a coffee together, renewed their commitment to each other, meaning this particular relationship was saved.
Do something different and you will see a different outcome.
The third step is – REPEAT TO CREATE NEW HABITS – Humans are creatures of habit and routine, in order to create new habit we have to repeat the new behaviours/tasks, ultimately creating new neural pathways, which will install the new habit. Repeating behaviours will lock in your new habits. So get into momentum with the change you have made, if it is exercise, once you start and keep the task going you will feel the benefits of momentum and getting to that class or going out for that walk will become so much easier.
When I started walking recently I committed to going at least 4 times a week, however once I started walking, my children joined me and soon I had been going out for walks for 10 days straight. Momentum kicked in and the new habit of walking daily for exercise then become a new routine.
When you make changes, when you do something new, you are stepping out of your comfort zone, your ‘known’ environment. Most people spend their entire lives inside their comfort zone. It is a safe and a certain place to be after all. However, there is no growth in this environment, growth and learning come when you step outside your ‘known’ environment, that is stop doing what you are doing now and decide to change something.
Decide, Do Something Different, Repeat to Create a New Habit.
It does sound simple and it is, once you take that first step and just Decide.