In the first portion of our two-part seasons of change blog set, we explored self-care during seasons of change that challenge us. In this installment, we will explore how we can be change-makers in our own lives and communities, creating wonderful, powerful change that empowers and inspires!
Make a Change That Lasts
When we talk about change, half of the conversation usually involves changes we didn’t ask for, didn’t want, or didn’t even see coming, but what about the changes we choose?
At times, we are led to make habit changes such as quit smoking, eat healthier foods, or do physical therapy exercises. Sometimes health and necessity drive these changes, but sometimes they are goals we choose ourselves to live more fully in our lives.
Some changes are big and exciting such as a new home, job, or career, but like most things shiny and new, at some point, the newness wears off and we face the fact that most things worth doing and accomplishing in life require consistency, effort, and attention long after the excitement of newness has gone.
So how then do we motivate ourselves not only to initiate changes but to stay the course and maintain them, and to guide ourselves lovingly back on track when we’ve strayed from the original course?
Get clear on what is and is not working. What is our reason for going on this change journey? Maybe we’ve lost our keys for the millionth time in the toy box, flushed our phone (again), or have paid yet another parking ticket that we forgot about, and now the fee has doubled. By looking at what isn’t working, we can then identify what we DO want to create. A functional key bowl, a phone station, a filing and reminder system for bills – the sky is the limit!
Form a realistic plan. After we have a specific intention and the reason behind it, now it is time to form the plan! Example: “Improve my physical fitness so I can lift my housecat without hurting my back.” Will we walk for 20 minutes on our lunch break? Take yoga twice per week or hire a personal trainer? Take up Pilates or weight lifting? Next, we come up with a few options, then pick one that sounds doable AND fits with our schedule and lifestyle. For example, we won’t be training for a marathon if our goal is to simply move our cat without getting a hernia! Let’s be real.
Before you begin, identify the pitfalls, challenges, and potential setbacks. Before we think of this as a negative way to start, let’s think of it as a sort of safety speech. Whenever doing a new activity such as a guided hike, snorkeling, etc., there is usually a safety speech from a guide or expert in that area. The speech tells us all of the things to do to not fall off the side of a mountain or get eaten by a barracuda (as much as one can do anyway). They don’t give this speech to bum everyone out, but to prevent injury and disappointment, maintain the natural beauty of the task at hand, and ensure that the highest “fun threshold” is reached. Let’s think of identifying our potential pitfalls and setbacks in the same light. If our goal is to replace afternoon diet sodas with sparkling water, when our co-workers ask if they can grab us a soda on their way to the snack bar, we will need to say no. This can be a moment of weakness where it could be hard to stick to our goal, but planning for it in advance can mean the difference between, “No thanks, I’ve got my sparkling deliciousness right here!” and “Bring me an extra-large sugar bomb, please!”
Get moving, check-in, and pivot when necessary. When we’ve got our solid plan and have shored up some of those could-be trouble spots, it’s time to get going! As we are doing the thing and actually making the change, it is important to take an inventory. Is this sustainable? Is this getting me closer to where I want to be? It is OK and even necessary to change things up sometimes. If we discover we are allergic to carrots, they will certainly need to be replaced in our healthy eating plan. It isn’t a failure, it’s simply an obstacle to overcome and maybe we find that sugar snap peas taste better anyway. If we find out that we can’t stand golf or medical school or knitting, we may need something new to work toward. We can think of that type of experience as self-knowledge and as part of the process, not a failure.
Last but not least, team up. Change is challenging and deeply personal, but we don’t have to go through the process alone. Sharing our goal with even one trusted person and asking if they’d check in with us can add an extra layer of both motivation and support. If we are coming up short in the support department, going online for virtual support groups or even taking a class can be wonderful ways to connect.
Remember that change is a journey and just like any great journey, there are plans, surprises, triumphs, setbacks, and a cast of interesting characters along the way, but one thing is for sure, the journey is most often, certainly worth it.
Want even more ideas and support for creating and maintaining change in your life? Check out our Events page for upcoming workshops, tools, and classes to help you connect with your authentic, empowered self!
Seasons of Change Webinar Workshop
Sunday, November 21st @ 7pm CST
Your Hubster Coach,