Are you tired of feeling stuck? Every year, you make resolutions to do something new or different just to end the year the same way you started. Do you find yourself missing opportunities because of worry or fear that keep you stuck and living an unfulfilled life? Making changes in your life requires work. To have the desire but no action plan will lead to no results. The issue that many run into is how to get started? You know what you need to change, but feel unmotivated and unable to get yourself moving in a new direction.
1. Be Realistic
Change comes with effort, so don’t think that you will not have to put in some work, so accept it from the start, otherwise you will set yourself up for failure. There are no magic pills or instant ways to create growth in your life, other than putting in the work that it will take to live the life you want.
2. Find Support
Talk to people that have made the change you want to make (lose weight, quit smoking, improve social life) If you don’t know anyone personally then research meet ups, facebook and other social media to find people, groups and events in your community that will support your goals. Being surrounded by others that are also striving for the same goal will inspire and keep you motivated. Other great resources are books, youtube videos, and websites that provide information on your topic.
3. Get out of your Comfort Zone
Making changes in your life will require getting out of your comfort zone. There will be times you will feel uncomfortable; embrace it as a sign of growth; pushing yourself beyond your perceived limitations. As you start to visualize your potential, you begin to feel an amazing sense of empowerment that will make you unstoppable.
4. Start small
If you try to change too many habits at one time then you are setting yourself up for frustration. You will run out of gas from spreading yourself thin, instead focus on changing one thing at a time. Start small so that positive step results in a lifestyle change. Taking one small step at a time will keep you encouraged and excited about achieving your goal.
Let’s say you want to be less nervous and awkward in social situations. You may first want to attend small functions where you know most of the people (think work related functions, friend’s birthday party, or small community events). Practice introducing yourself to one or two people that you don’t know, and engage in short polite conversations. The second step may be exercising more conversation throughout your day with co-workers or school peers. You will have many uncomfortable moments, but if you get out of your comfort zone, things will begin to feel more comfortable, as you desensitize yourself to social situations, and create a new “normal” for you.
5. Make a Goal and Build Routine
Make sure that you have made your desired change a goal in your life. Focus on this goal by finding ways to make it part of your schedule. When I was looking to be less isolated in my field, I found and attended a regular networking group. It was a great way to stay on track with my goal. Not only was I changing how I professionally interacted, but was part of a collective group of caring people. This experience changed me from an isolated practitioner to a connected community provider. Having planned weekly meetings made it so easy, because, all I had to do was lock the date and time into my calendar. This way I didn’t have to struggle with figuring out how to network on my own. If you are not one to attend an environment, where you don’t know anyone then bring a friend. For example, if your goal is in wellness and you want to join a gym, or yoga studio, but feel uncomfortable with going by yourself then find a gym/yoga-partner to make it more fun.
6. Take Charge of your desired outcome
No matter the resource or support; at the end you are responsible for the changes you want to make in your life. Take ownership of your issue, don’t pond it on another person to fix it. If you want more excitement in your life don’t nag at your partner or spouse to make it happen. Create the excitement. Take trips with friends, find a hobby or maybe you have been wanting to learn to salsa dance. Create what you want don’t wait around for someone else to give it to you. Going around blaming others for your area of struggle will not change the circumstances. Other people can’t “fix you” or make you happy! Whatever needs changing in your life will require you to work at it, so you can create a purposeful life that you truly enjoy!
7. Consider Professional Help
If you have attempted to create changes in your life, but repeatedly fail; then there may be a deeper (unconscious) issue that is to blame. Do some reality checking within yourself, and ask the tough questions to see if you would benefit from professional help. Let’s say you are trying to change your habit of negative thinking, yet every time you set out to conquer it you have a panic attack. In this situation, consider getting some professional help.
8. Transform your thinking
If you find it difficult to make a change because you are afraid or worried about whether you can do it or not ask yourself these questions:
- Why do I want to do this?
- Why would making this change be awesome?
- How will I know if I can if I do not try
- What if I don’t change and stay where I am?
We call this positive self-talk in therapy. It is a great mechanism for challenging negative emotional thoughts. These thoughts create doubt, worry, and fear that will steal your confidence. This method allows you to examine your thoughts from a more reflective place and eradicate destructive thought cycles that will prevent you from taking action to create a healthier you.
That the person you want to be is in you. Push through the uncomfortable growing pains to step into your amazing transformation, so that you can live your best today. The hard work isn’t about what you get but who you will become!