Change is as close as your breath . . .
… it can happen in a heartbeat.
or not …
But, breathing requires inhaling and exhaling. Change means you have to let go of the old before you can replace it with the new. Some would say it is the same as that old saying, empty the old wineskin before putting new wine into it. As a rule, you would wash out a dirty glass before putting something new in it, right?
Did you make a new year’s resolution? With the strongest of intentions of following through? The idea behind making resolutions is about changing your life in some way. The question is, did you make a resolution that makes your life better? Or did you make it different?
What was on your list? Did you choose to stop smoking? Or did you decide to lose weight, go travelling, or complete a bucket list? What about catching up with friends you haven’t seen or heard from in decades? Any of those on your New Year’s list of things to do or change in your coming year? Actions that would make your life different in some way? Or would they make your life better?
You do want change though, don’t you? So, why is it so hard to make change happen in your life? There are two reasons.
Reason number 1: Change is hard. Even though you want it, it is a real stretch to make small changes that you know will make a difference in your life.
Reason number 2: Deep down, you do not know or understand the why behind the change you want. Or if you do, the why is not strong enough to inspire the different actions required to do your life differently. Or better.
Do not despair. In reality, only about 99% of people who made NYE resolutions are in the same boat as you are…. and many are sinking with the challenge of changing lifelong habits. Who said it was easy being human?
There are 3 steps to change:
Step 1 – Know
Know the why of the what. The trick is to be very clear about the WHY of what you want to change. What is the feeling behind the results you will see when you make that change? Is it happiness? Fear? Security? Passion? Longevity? Weight loss? Health? Fitness? How do you think your life will be different once you make the changes? Be very clear about this.
Step 2 – Imagine
Use a piece of poster paper. Write down the feelings you will have when you make this change. Find pictures of the results you will see in your life once the change has become permanent. Paste them onto your poster paper around the words. Place your collage where you will see it every day. If you only have a small piece of paper, use a photo frame. Leave it beside your bed so you see it when you go to to bed and when you wake up.
Step 3 – Practise
Repetition creates the changes you want to see. Every day, spend one minute looking at your poster paper. Imagine how different your life will be. Do it more often if you can. The more you practise your new life, the sooner it will manifest. Be aware that unless you have committed to your change, the practise will be difficult at first but will get easier as you persist.
According to some, a new habit takes approximately 30-40 days to settle in and create a noticeable change in your life. It may take you less. For me it always takes longer than 30 days so, as you can imagine, changing my habits takes sheer persistence. But it is do-able. And when it feels gruelling or challenging, I take a deep breath and breathe in, breathe out.