A lot of us think about change, we want change, we talk about change, we even make decisions to change and do things differently, but for so many of us there is a disconnect between the desire and the decision to change and the implementation of change.
Here are five tools that have really helped me close the space between what I want to do and what I actually do. And they aren’t sequential. They don’t happen one step at a time. They need to happen simultaneously. I think they are most effective when they are applied at the same time.
- Remember all the action we take in our lives comes from the feelings we feel - Our feelings fuel our action. And in fact, we don’t take any action without first having a feeling. And so it follows that if you don’t like the action you are taking and you want to take a different action, you are going to need a different feeling.
If you notice that you aren’t doing what you said you wanted to do, examine your feelings. When you find yourself not acting, ask yourself, “What am I feeling?” And then, “What thought is creating this feeling?”
- Expect discomfort - You should expect negative emotion when you go to do new or hard things. Expect that it’s going to be scary, it’s going to be hard, it’s going to require energy and there might be pain involved. The more you can expect the discomfort and not need to solve for it or change it or make it go away first, the more successful you will be in implementing change.
- Give up perfectionism – We think so much in terms of “all or nothing” and this stops us from really implementing the changes we want. Don’t fall for the lie your brain gives you that a little doesn’t matter. A little is the only thing that matters. Your brain is just trying to save energy and avoid pain and telling you that a little doesn’t matter is one of its most successful tactics.
- Practice believing in yourself - We don’t have a lot of practice believing in ourselves. In many ways we have let ourselves down over and over and over again. We’ve lost our trust with ourselves and we’ve said we’re going to change so many times that we just don’t believe it anymore.
Start by noticing what you believe right now. What do you believe about your ability to change? Whatever you believe right now is just a thought that you have practiced a lot. It isn’t the truth. What you believe is just the thoughts you have practiced the most. And whatever you believe about yourself is 100% optional. You can believe something else. You can believe the exact opposite, in fact. And the more you practice that new thought, the more true it will feel.
- Allow yourself to be proud - You need to celebrate yourself and all the little wins along the way. You can get so much fuel and power for change when you give yourself credit for the progress you have made.
When you give yourself a chance to celebrate it makes your brain take note, to acknowledge the good, and forces your brain to gather some evidence that builds belief in you. When you celebrate it makes your brain acknowledge that you create results in your life.
It is your privilege to be here on earth to learn and grow and become who you want to be. You don’t have to change or implement anything to be 100% okay, but you can. It is your right. It is the privilege of every human being to change forever and become the person they have always wanted to be…and that my friends is 100% awesome.