We have all heard it said that someone “has really changed” or that someone “really needs to change”. Maybe we have been accused of “resisting change” or have been encouraged to “be the change” we wish to see in the world. I once heard it said that the only person who truly embraces change is a baby with a dirty diaper! Change is inevitable. Let’s take a closer look at what happens to us once we embrace the concept of CHANGE.
Choice. Change is a choice. We can CHOOSE to stay in our current circumstances or we can CHOOSE to change them. I have a client who “hates living in California”. They cite traffic, cost of living, taxes, lack of water, smog, angry drivers, ineffective government, left wing crazies and the surge of illegal immigrants as some of their reasons for wanting to leave the state. I couldn’t help but ask them why on earth they would ever desire to leave such a lovely sounding place? Their answer says it all…”from what I hear, everywhere else is just as bad”. I rest my case…CHANGE is a CHOICE!
Habit. Whenever we begin to change something in our lives, we also begin creating a new habit. The fastest way to change a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit. For example, when I quit smoking I knew I would have to make some immediate changes if I was going to be successful. I bought a bike. Every time I had a strong craving I jumped on my bike and pedaled through the craving. I have not had a cigarette in 14 years and I cycle an average of 3,000 miles per year. Bye, bye, bad habit, hello good habit.
Action. Change begins in thought but is realized through ACTION. For a change to become permanent it must be accompanied by consistent ACTION. Again, using my smoking example, their are millions of people who are thinking about giving up cigarettes, however, most are unwilling to take and maintain the ACTION necessary to become a non smoker. The 3 actions to stop smoking are…1) DON’T BUY THEM! If you do break down and buy them… 2) DO NOT LIGHT THEM and if you break down and light one…3) DO NOT TAKE A PUFF. Anyone who takes and maintains these three actions WILL quit smoking and remain a non smoker. I know this strategy works because I followed it and quit. ***One of the hardest things I have ever done but well worth the short term pain it took to free myself from the bondage of nicotine.
New. When we make a change it becomes our new way of being. Anyone who has faced and conquered “the battle of the bulge” understands the power of change. In order to lose weight we must become committed to a new food plan and exercise routine. Our commitment to these fundamental changes will determine whether or not we release our unwanted pounds and if we are able to KEEP THEM OFF! Once a change becomes our new way of being, we no longer have to worry about going back to the way things were.
Growth. For most of us, our greatest personal growth occurs during periods of significant change. When the world around us begins to change, we have two choices; resist the change (reactive) or embrace the change and begin the process of adapting to our new reality (proactive). For example, I held a death grip on my CD player before finally embracing the world of MP-3. When I found myself experiencing a health challenge (Valley Fever) I found myself going through both emotional and physical changes. My ability to embrace and accept change was a key factor in maintaining my mental and emotional health while I recovered. When we view change as an opportunity to learn and grow it becomes much easier to embrace it.
Example. Our willingness to change can serve as an example for others to follow. A good friend of mine battled a prescription drug addiction for several years. One day his emotional pain became so great that he found himself reaching out to a local spiritual leader to help him end his dependence on prescription drugs. Over time, my friend was able to overcome his addiction and today he speaks to groups across the country about the dangers of prescription drugs. His willingness to make this significant life change has undoubtedly led to countless people being more mindful of the dangers associated with prescription drug use and we will never know how many lives he has saved.
Change happens! Our ability to accept it and use it as a stepping stone toward a more compelling future is the key. I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.