By Robert Chen
I’ve always been interested in change.
How to change, why people change, why people resist change, why people who want to change fail at changing … you get the point.
What makes change so compelling for me?
Change is what moves you forward in life.
People resistant to change usually fall under 2 groups:
- Those who usually don’t know what they want in life so they don’t want to move for fear of going in the wrong direction.
- Those who do know what they want but become paralyzed because they are not sure how to get there or there are too many options to choose from.
To the first group, I recommend that you do some self-reflection and really think about what you want and what your values are. An exercise that have helped me is to list on one piece of paper the answer to “If I could not fail, I would …” and to fill this list until the bottom of the page for 30 days. Only after you have some clarity of what you want in life will you be open to change.
To the second group, congratulations on knowing what you want. Now you just have to realize that most people don’t know how to get where they are going. They just launch themselves in motion and correct the course according to the feedback they get. Of course, by studying people who are successful in achieving what you want, you can come up with a good plan that can save you some time and energy. The main point for you is to just start.
Once you’ve decided that you are going to change (move towards your goal), you need to keep in mind 3 requirements for effective change:
1. Overwhelming Desire
To begin effective change, you must see the change as being a necessity. If the change is just “nice to have”, it won’t be sustainable because anything “nice to have” is also “ok not to have”. The stronger your desire for the change, the more effective the change will be. What is something you NEED to change in your life right now? Please write down the answer to this question somewhere. We’ll need it for later.
2. Begin at the Root
Thoughts are the root of all behavior. Before you can change your actions, you must change your thoughts. To change really means challenging your previous assumptions. It is impossible to keep all the same assumptions and still expect to effectively life change. Look at the answer you just wrote down to the question above. What assumptions are you holding that is preventing the change? Challenge that assumption. Explore the possibility of that assumption being false. Understand that what worked before to get you where you are may not work to get you where you want to go.
3. Build the Habit
Once that assumption has been challenged and deemed to be incorrect. Think about how your actions will change now that the original assumption is no longer holding you back. What are the actions that are now possible that weren’t possible before? List the actions of change and prioritize the list to choose one action that would make the most positive impact in your life.
Now all that is left to do is that action, repeatedly … until it becomes a habit.
Once it becomes an automatic habit, repeat the process all over again to continue moving towards your goal.
A great reminder that we need to design the life we really want, based on our core values, and then embrace the discomfort that comes with making personal change as that is the path to the life we really want. And after all, it is much better than living by accident (which is pretty much gambling with our one and only life).
It is so important to design our lives according to our values but unfortunately many people haven’t even taken the first step to define what their core values are. I attribute my current happiness, productivity and well-being to looking within and really knowing what I want in life and then living my life to pursue it. Living life by accident is just not fun.