‘Everyone thinks of changing the world, but not one thinks of changing himself.’ Leo Tolstoy
Many people avoid change in their life because they view change as something uncomfortable and difficult. Human beings enjoy routine and ritual because it creates a sensation of security and comfort; when we experience change we often suffer from a sense of loss of our ’normality’, a loss of familiarity and a loss of control.
Even if we know that we want to change because we are in a difficult situation and are experiencing high levels of discomfort there can still be reluctance to change due to fear of the unknown. This fear can result in a psychological ‘paralysis’ where we know we need to change but can’t.
The process of change asks us to consider big questions such as:
What is important in my life now?
Who is important to me?
What action do I need to take to make things different?
What if it all goes wrong?
What if I make the wrong decision?
The first three questions are incredibly important and are helpful to us in evaluating what we would like from our life and what we need to do to make change happen. The last two questions are fortune-telling; in other words, we are almost deciding that things will go wrong before they have, which sets our subconscious off on a losing streak before we start! Be aware of, and avoid, this type of thinking at all costs!
Instead, visualising the pleasure when the change has happened will set our subconscious up to want to change because it can already see the great results that change can bring.
It is important to understand and to evaluate where we are in the various stages of change, see the diagram above- Cycle of Change – Prochaska & DiClemente
In pre-contemplation we are unwilling to change and to see that there is something to change
In contemplation we have seen that there is something to change but we are not in the right state of mind to make the leap
In preparation a decision to make the change been taken and we put plans in place to do it
In action we have started to do what is necessary to make the change happen
Maintenance is crucial in keeping up the action and good habits
Relapse is a normal part of the change process. We can go through the cycle a few times before lasting change is reached.
Try this activity to send a clear and powerful message to your subconscious; change will be successful and pleasurable –
- Set aside 15-20 minutes, once or twice a day, find a quiet space, take some deep breaths and relax
- Now, start to think about the change you want in your life e.g. career, family,relationship, friends, self-image, confidence, ambitions etc.
- Next, in your mind, create a vibrant picture of yourself in that new situation, giveit colour, give it movement, and give it sound
- See yourself in your own home movie of this new change in your life…
What do you look like?
How are you behaving?
What are you saying?
What do you hear around you?
What can you see?
How are you interacting with family/friends/colleagues?
What emotions are you experiencing? e.g. joy, comfort, pleasure, confident feelings
REPEAT THIS EXERCISE ONCE OR TWICE A DAY— then start planning, putting into action and achieving your change.
REMEMBER that lasting change can take a while—do not get disheartened, ask for support if you need it – good luck!
- Resistance can be good. Make Change Work! (itsaboutleaders.wordpress.com)
- change fear (themiddlelifeofk.wordpress.com)