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We all want to make positive changes in our lives, but it can be difficult.  Ever try a new habit or start a new year’s resolution and find yourself not keeping up with it?

 

Below I will talk about 10 tips I have found useful in making changes in life, but first we need to talk about why it is so hard to keep them.

 

I have found it easier to deal with change when it was something I decided to do myself. If the change was something I felt out of my control, or that I did not have a decision on it, then I resisted.

 

In my case, I have had many changes in my life, both personally and professionally. While some change was welcome, others I was nervous and anxious about.

 

I found when I was the one who decided on the change, then I am more open to it. I learned that many of our  behaviors and actions all have to do with mindset. If the change is desirable, then we are more open to it. If we did not want the change in the first place, then we resist it.

 

A key ingredient to remember is: the lack of change is not because someone does not want to change or is lazy.

 

The main reasons people have difficulty with change is because:

 

1) We are creatures of habit.

When we try to incorporate a new habit, we are replacing something else that our bodies and minds are wired to do. This is something that takes time, effort, grace, and resilience.

 

 2) The benefits of changing need to outweigh the negatives of not changing.

Time is money correct? If it is not something that we consider to be important enough, we will not put our energy and time into it.

 

 3) MOST IMPORTANTLY FEAR GETS IN THE WAY. 

Fear plays an important role when considering change. Fear is a  survival instinct we developed during the caveman days, that still exists within us today.

 

Our bodies still have the fear response within ourselves to prevent danger.  So, although we don’t have the same kind of predators nowadays, our brains still have the same responses to things we think may be a danger to our well-being. Some common present-day fears many have include: public speaking, socializing, trying something different, etc.

So now that we know why it is so hard to change, let’s talk about ways we can fight past the resistance and fear. 

 1. Be aware of the resistance.

Acknowledgement is the first step in the change process. If you do not think something has to change, then you will not put our mind and energy towards it.

 

2. Take time to reflect what you are afraid of and challenge it.

Is this a real fear? Do you know others who have showed their ability to go against this fear? For example, if you are afraid of public speaking, who do you know speaks in public? Are they actually in danger when they speak in public? Ask your question, what is the worst that can happen? Is it something that your life will have a negative consequence? 

 

3. Evaluate someone who has went against this fear.

What about them makes them able to go past this fear? Is there something you can do similarly? For example, is there someone who speaks in public? What characteristrics do they have? In this case, we will say someone who speaks in public communicates well.

 

4. Create an action plan of what you can do

 Using the public speaking example, one point that the person has is that he or she communicates well. The next step is to  create an action plan to improve your communication skills.

For example:

Find books on how to improve your communication.

Practice communicating with others in person, online, anywhere.

Watch videos on communication.

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5. Fight past the uncomfortable feeling. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

No one likes to feel uncomfortable. Confront the fear. Only by fighting past the fear, can you grow.

Use the fear as a guide. If you are afraid, it means it is something you can work towards.

 

6. Recognize the difference between what you can change and what you cannot change.

You can only change yourself. Some people try to do the same thing over and over, expecting different results.  They do not realize they are trying to change other people, rather than themselves. The only person you can change is yourself. When you change yourself, then other circumstances will change.

Remember, there are other forces and other people that may not be on board with your decision to change things. Stay focused on knowing the difference of what you can and cannot change. 

 

7. Practice positive self talk.

Self-talk is powerful. If you don’t think you are good at something, you won’t put power and energy into it. Even if it is not something you believe, there is power in your words. For example, if someone said they were incompetent in math and will NEVER understand it, do you think they will keep trying? No. The person has a defeatist attitude and will not try, because they think no matter how much effort is put into trying, it will never help improve the situation.

If a person thinks they are learning, and can only get better, the person will keep trying, and keep working on it.

 

8. Practice Self-Love.

Life happens. Life is unpredictable. Hiccups happen. Humans are social beings. As a result, there are other people who impact our lives. We may be trying to change a habit, but events happen such as an unexpected visit, an emergency, an unscheduled event, etc.

By us working on ourselves and improving, we don’t always have the ability to control other things outside of us. We can control ourselves and how we treat ourselves. Practice loving yourself, and change will be easier to handle when you are confident in who you are.

 

9. Strive for progress not perfection.

New habits are things that we are not experts at.  Did you know it takes 10,000 hours for you to be exceptional at something?

Therefore, done is better than none. By doing, continuing to practice, and hone in on the habit, you will get better and better. However, by delaying, the time otherwise spent learning, adapting, and practicing will never happen.

 

10. Be gentle with yourself.

We are creatures of habit. When we want to change something that is against our habitual behaviors, we sometimes stumble and get caught up in autopilot mode. Do not be hard on yourself when you are trying to change a long-standing habit. Re-evaluate what worked, what didn’t, and then get back up again.

 

Remember, just like any habit or new skill we learn, we will not be perfect at it in the beginning. New skills take time. The “muscle” of being uncomfortable has  to be stronger than the “muscle” that happens when instinctual stress. With practice and exercise, the muscle of being uncomfortable will get stronger.

 

I hope these tips help! I would love to know what change you are looking to make in your life. Let me know by commenting below.

 

Sending you love and light on your journey,

 Jackie

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