Any significant change is not simple. To begin with, it is difficult to accept the fact that you must undergo change. It means something that you are and have has been invalidated. That feeling can be very painful. It also hurts our ego! There are those among us who know something about them is not in order, but they do not give themselves a chance to change it as they are too afraid of the inconvenience. Many times, they do not find the inner strength to face the fact that they need to change.
Let us begin by acknowledging your decision to bring about a change in you. It takes courage and humility to admit that you must change things about you. And as it is famously said, well begun, is half done. However, there is nothing more common than an enthusiastic start to such a journey, but a gradual decline in eagerness and interest along the way.
These three basic questions will help you to begin with greater focus. Ask yourself:
• Am I fully equipped to embark on this journey? Do I know what it will take for me to keep going on this journey?
• What can cause harm to my plan? What are my road-blocks on the path?
• What am I vulnerable to? What can tempt me to abandon this journey? What can upset you?
Now that those critical questions have been answered, you are ready to undertake the journey. Here are some basic steps to following in order to bring about positive and lasting change within you:
1. Accept the need to change. People spend their precious lives living in absolute denial. Here you must weigh the cost of not changing. Till you realize that the cost of not changing is greater than the inconvenience of change, no journey in this direction can begin. This realization, however harsh, will set you on the path to change.
2. Focus on the gains. If you undertook this task to change something about yourself, how would it make a difference to your life and current situation? What can you consistently focus on which would prevent you from falling into the trap of giving up? The answer to these questions must be positive. People’s keenness is easily activated and maintained through positive motivation.
3. Identify who can support. Undertaking such a task is not easy by any standards. There would be many situations where you would feel you are not sufficient as an individual. Here it would greatly help you to speak to another person who can sustain your efforts. Do ensure that you find someone who believes in your plan and is spirited himself!
4. Take action. By the time you arrive at this step, you would have sufficiently weighed the path ahead, planned and prepared for every step. The time now is to take action. All planning is useless when not accompanied by the necessary action. Be it a plan to shift your career, change behaviour inside you, keep your New Year resolution, your success is not going to come from the plan or discussion. It is going to come from action. Therefore just do.
5. Sustain it. When you begin to take action, results begin to show. At this point it becomes clear to you that the change has brought positive impact in your life. Allow yourself the rewards. Share with others who need to bring the same difference to their life. This will ensure that your resolve to continue striving for keeping the change alive is much more powerful than the temptation of taking the easier route of going back to your old habits and patterns from which you want to break free.
6. Manage the occasional disappointment. For a human being there is no need to be embarrassed or disappointed at his own frailties. It can happen to anyone. And interestingly, it happens with everyone. People plan, prepare, work hard on the plan, sometimes mid way, they come close to giving up, occasionally even deviate, but finally pull themselves up. All is normal. It brings great harm when people become de-motivated due to small disappointments. An occasional setback is inevitable in anything that you set out to achieve. One should not abandon months of effort due to small things that may upset you along the way.
7. Remain committed. Be committed to the thought with which you decided to bring about the change. You may achieve great results due to your plan and perseverance, but never forget the inspiration which brought the shift in your mind-set. To remain committed to that idea would mean to encourage others around you who are struggling with theirs. Be grateful for what you achieved, and strive to be the inspiration in others’ lives too.
What small change will change the course of your life and your loved ones? Bring about the change which you have been putting off for so long. Do it now!
“May the New Year be a beginning of the life you have been dreaming to live so far. Happy New Year 2013!”