We may all procrastinate or fear change, but we all have the capacity to change. And no matter how uncomfortable change can be, most of us all want to change in one-way or another.
Maybe you have been thinking about quitting your job everyday for the past two years. Or maybe you have been thinking about changing your eating and fitness routines so getting dressed every morning isn’t an emotional ordeal. Or maybe you really want to write a book and it has been brewing in you now for so long that you MUST write.
So you quit your job. You start going to the gym. You eat vegetables. You even get up at 5:00 a.m. every morning to write the novel of your dreams. You do this for several days straight.
Then, one day you wake up at 5:00 a.m. and press snooze. One more hour won’t kill me, you think. You get dressed in the morning and you feel frustrated. You have not lost as much weight as you thought you would. The next day you eat pizza. Then the next day you eat a burger and fries instead of salad. In the morning when you should be working on a project for your client, you find yourself second guessing self-employment. You let fear set in and you start looking for jobs on LinkedIn.
For many of us motivation isn’t our problem. Instant gratification is. Change doesn’t happen in a few days or a week. It isn’t as easy as changing the channel. We are so conditioned to have everything we want at the moment we want it. But as the old saying goes: Everything worthwhile takes time.
Today I want you to consider another way to approach change. Those quick diets and those quick fixes are not what you need to make a real change. Here are a few tips to help you find the patience you need to change.
Forget about being perfect:
Chances are the first book you write will be horrible. You will have to edit it many times. And after all that, you may still feel like your book doesn’t embody your voice or message. But the second book you write won’t have the same issue. It will be clearer, on point and it will represent you. So forget about being perfect. Just get started. And when you aren’t perfect let it go.
Be patient and start again:
Be aware when you feel yourself straying from your path. Ask yourself: What am I afraid of? Are you afraid of failing? Are you afraid of success? Are you afraid of how your family will react to you being self-employed? If you have already gotten off track, you should still ask yourself these questions. But, also ask yourself, what about this process didn’t work? Did you work out in the evening when it would have been better for you to work out in the morning? Finally, forgive yourself quickly and start again with your new and improved plan.
Create a community:
Change can be lonely. Following your dreams can be lonely. So find a community of people that can help you through the ups and downs of change. Are you an aspiring author who needs help staying motivated? Then start a writing group. You all can get together, network and talk about the habits that will improve your productivity. Can’t stick to your fitness routine? Get a walking buddy. Community is a powerful support system that can get your through your toughest challenges. Don’t go it alone.
I love change for the same reason I love traveling. It is uncomfortable, but I feel alive, aware, present and purposeful. Yes sometimes it is scary and sometimes inconvenient. But the journey is also invigorating and full of unlikely friends and characters who help you along your path. Uncertainty will take you places beyond your wildest dreams. All you have to do is embrace it.
Believe in change:
You may be trying change. But you may also live with a partner who is trying to change. Maybe he or she has been trying to lose weight for years. This person has tried every diet under the sun and always ends up quitting and going back to old comfortable habits. We can’t control people or their habits. And obviously we should never try to. But sometimes when we have known people for a long time, we doubt their ability to change.
I think this doubt can be toxic to you and your loved ones. I will always believe in the power of people and in their capacity to grow. But we all grow at different rates and in different ways. Be patient and kind to yourself. And be patient and kind to the others who are also trying to change.
You can find more about Rev. Michaels and his work here.
Reprinted with permission from 12/15/14 post.
Contact me at Antonia@TheJoyofAgingGratefully.com
Perfect timing! My journaling this morning was about change. I discovered, in my journaling, that I demand perfection of myself (probably others as well)and that I do not treat myself gently and lovingly. This article, as many of your articles, came at the perfect time…
I can be hard on myself when I’m not fully open to change, but it’s a process, and I’m better today than in the past. I love how Chris Michaels has aided me in being patient with the process.
Glad this post was timely for you, Fran.