First of all, do you really have to change? Or are you enough just the way you are? Of course you are enough, just the way you are! There is no requirement to ever change (even if it can be beneficial to do so through out life).
Below chain of various tools an ways of thinking is good to follow if you want to make a change, to make it easier for you to go through and sucessfully complete your change. Not everyone who starts out on a change journey reaches the goal, but I am confidant that you can make the changes you wish to do.
There are no right or wrong in this, but there is your way, your thoughts, your experience and your wishes.
Below flow is a simplified and adapted project model with the addition of my own thoughts. It is a flow that helps you make a change, and not to sustain it. To sustain any made changes is a separate way of working and thinking than to make the change. This may help you in completing your change in a structured way to help you increasing the odds of completing your change.
One last important thing before I let you explore below method. From my point of view you can only change yourself and make changes in your own life and your own mind. You may never (or at least should not) change any other person. It is out of your responsibility to change others, no matter how much you would like to… and the opposite is true as well, no matter how anybody else want you to change, it is not up to them, it is only up to you. It is your wish to change and your responsibility to initiate a change in you, it is never up to anybody else but you.
What is the change you want to do?
You need to think through what you really want (Tell me what you want, what you really, really want – Spice Girls). And keep in mind that it is easier to move towards something than from something…
If you are running away from something, it is easy to get lost, but if you are running towards something, there is a big chance you will reach your goal.Unknown source, freely quoted
No matter what change you would like to do, it is important that you do it for the right reasons, not just change for the sake of changing.
Einstein have said something lik:
If I get an hour to solve a problem, I spend 55 minutes on defining the problem, and 5 minutes solving it.Albert Einstein, freely quoted and translated
What is your starting point, and what is your goal?
Many (myself included, time and again) fool themselves with where their actual staring point is. To think that you can run 5 km without any hustle, and set up a goal to manage 10 km in 60 minutes, as to where the real staring point is barely running 1 km without throwing up, dying a few times and passing out every 100 meters or so. Then perhaps the 10 km run under 60 minutes is an unrealistic goal.
Be honest with yourself on where your staring point are and make sure to define a clear goal! (Check out SMART goal!)
Your purpose and your goal
Purpose and goal, isn’t that the same thing? It can be, and that is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but it can also be two different things.
Your purpose can be to be able to play with your grandchildren, but your goal is to be able to run three kilometer.
But your goal can also be to be able to play with your grandchildren.
The goal is your driving force and should answer the question what your goal is, and the purpose point to why you want to reach it.
Your purpose and your goal are necessary companions if (or when) you face obstacles or setbacks, loose motivation or desire, bounce back to old behavior and/or thought patterns. This is your power to use when you feel like you are no longer on the right path towards the decision you’ve made to fulfill your wish.
What resources do you have?
To make a change and reach a goal you need recourses. It might be time, it might be money, a certain tool, knowledge or something completely different.
Some things you might already be in possession of from start, others you need to obtain along the way.
No matter what resource, how important it is for you to reach your goal, based on the resources you have today? Do you need to prioritize and stop doing something in order to reach your goad? Is it worth doing this priority to you?
Be honest, again there is nothing right or wrong in this, just your thoughts and wishes.
If there is anything you are missing to reach your goal, it is important to set up a plan on how to get it. If you need $1000 for a course in a certain area, you will need to get a plan on how to get that amount. Here time might be a factor. If you want to save $100 each month it will take 10 month, then you can start your course. It is doable, but in order to make it you will need to remind yourself of your motivation and your goal if and when it feels heavy to make that saving.
Who will be affected by your change?
Who, in your life, will be affected by your change? And in what way will they be affected? Negative? Positiv? And at what stage in the process are they affected? Don’t get me wrong, no one has anything to do with your change, it is yours alone, but it might be good to think through this, and perhaps prepare for some dialogues that you might anticipate. But remember, you never need to defend your wish to change, only answer those questions that you want to answer regarding your change.
In above example about saving money for 10 month, perhaps your friends are affected since you do not want to tag along to the activities you normally do together. Perhaps you can suggest other activities that still makes it possible for you to save the $100 each month that you set out to do. Perhaps some things are worth delaying your goal, and let it take 11 or 12 month instead. Perhaps that movie that you really want to see, or that concert you would like to go to. Nothing right or wrong, it is your desire, your wish, your choice and your priorities that needs to be the foundation of your decision.
In my point of view, the changes you want to make, that are good for you, that will make you happier and feel better, that takes you closer to your goals and makes you a better person. Even if people around you are affected in some way during and after the change, they will benefit from it in the long run, since you will become a more complete person as you develop. Despite that they might resist your change it is (again in my opinion) something that benefits everybody in the end. Sure, there might be persons in your surrounding that does not want you to change, for various reasons, but unfortunately (for them) it is not something that can decide, no matter how much they want to. (The only thing they are entitled to in the matter is voicing their opinion, but you are not in any way obligated to take it into account, listen to it or comply with.) It is your thing, and only yours, to decide, and it is your needs and wishes that matter in the end, not other peoples thoughts and opinions.
What, when and how?
Perhaps this would be under the category recourses, but my opinion is that this is a little deeper and more extensive. And I see the next part of this chain is to define what you will do, when you will do it and how you will do it. Create a plan.
Step 1. Save $100 each month, starting with the paycheck in October. Create an automatic transaction to a new savings account, created for this purpose only. The things I will cut down on to make this saving possible is by bringing lunch boxes to work everyday and stop buying coffee on my way to work every morning.
Step 2. When I have the $1000 in my bank account I will book the course and make reservations in my calendar for each class. I will also make reservations the night before so I can get a good nights sleep before each class.
Step 3. After completing the course I will… What, when, how… What when, how….
To divide your plan into steps, or sub-goals, will make it easier to focus your efforts at one thing at the time. This often makes the over all goal seem easier to accomplish since it is just one step at the time. It also helps you gain a forward motion and build up momentum by taking one step, and then the next. And by focusing your time and effort in one direction, on the task at hand, it is easier to give it your best and stay on track.
Start and end of the change
A change (in my opinion) needs a start date and an end date. In above example the start date is the pay check in October. At the starting point, your plan should be ready. (This being said, a plan both can and sometimes needs to change, all depending on what happens during the way… it might even be necessary to change the plan in order for it to succeed!) When you have a plan you have a direction to channel your efforts and energy, you have some idea on what to spend your time and efforts and resources at, all to get you from where you are to where you want to go… It creates a security… You also have some idea when you expect to arrive and when the changing phase comes to an end. In my opinion and experience, it is one thing to initiate and complete a change, and a whole other thing to keep and maintain the result of the change. Like loosing weight. It is one mindset and set of actions to loose weight, and something completely different (well, maybe not completely) to maintain the goal weight. If you continue to do the things you do to lose weight, there is a risk that keeping to those habits will make you continue to loose weight, or at least not giving your body what it needs to find a new balance. When one action has the purpose of change, the same action might not support the change once it is made. Thus, your change (and plan for the change) needs to have a start and end date. Besides, how else will you know when you have arrived at your destination?
One change at a time
Like an old stuck record, I repeat; there is nothing right or wrong in this, but it might be a good idea to settle for one change at a time. Depending on if the change is big or small and how much time and energy the change is taking from you. But as a general rule, one change at a time. Once it is done, let the change come to rest in its new state. Let that state be part of your every day life. Then, if you need and/or wish, make the next change.
This way helps you to succeed with the changes you want to do, by giving it the time and space that it needs. And it gives you a chance to get use to the changes instead of just rushing of to the next. And the next. And then, before you know it, find yourself back in your old way of life, with your old way of thinking and acting. In all this, trust yourself, trust in your own ability and listen to yourself to find out what’s the right thing for you. And most important. Learn from your mistakes! (Oh yeah, I am counting on that you will make a bunch of those, but no worries, we all do, it is kind of part of it all!)
Now you have completed your change! Well done! Congratulations! Give yourself a pat on your shoulder! Take a moment to recognize and appreciate what you have accomplished! Give yourself credit for what you have done! Enjoy this feeling. Perhaps share it with someone?
One point of celebrating your accomplishment is to set a clear end point for yourself, and by doing so, acknowledge that you are entering a new phase with the goal(s) you’ve worked with and toward.
During the whole change, there will happen things, positive and negative. Some things go as you expect, some don’t. It is inevitable, no matter how well you plan, there will always be some mistakes or something unforeseen. It is part of it all. Just as it is supposed to be. And when it happen, don’t panic or give up, but learn from it.
A way of keeping track of things is to keep a journal through out your change journey. This way you can go back and evaluate. No one knows how a journey will be, even if it is planned in detail before the journey starts, but everybody can look back and share experiences from the journey. And it will be easier if you have documented the journey in a travel journal or pictures. The same is true for a change journey.
It is said that hindsight is the worlds most exact science. That when events have unfolded, you can say what you could have done differently to get a different result. Possibly a better result. But hindsight is not a luxuary you have at the starting point, before everything starts. Of course, you have our own experiences and the experience from others that have done something similar, but not the experience that you will have after you have done the change you are after. What you can do is make a deposit in your lessons bank and learn from it all, both good and bad things, things that did go according to plan and the things that didn’t.
What if I fail?
The only thing that happens if you fail is that you fail. This time. Now, I am not a fan of sports, but there are a lot of good examples from sports. Take Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He shoots the ball towards the goal over and over again, most of the times he does not score. Or said in a different way, he fails to score. But he keeps trying, and by doing so, eventually he scores. And the reason he scores is that he keeps on trying, over and over again. This is why he is successful in making many goals. He does not score 100% of the time, but he makes the most of every shot!
And it is said that Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb once said something like learning 1000 way to not make a light bulb, before he learned how to make it.
There is strength in failure. There are lessons in failure. It is by being brave enough to fail that you also can do things right. And if you do not dare make any mistakes, you will not have the opportunity to make things right.
As a famous hockey player said:
You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.Wayne Gretzky