Building a Foundation for Change Part 2

Last week I talked about what change is. This week I want to look at how change happens.

Change happens in a context of safety. To truly change we need to be in a space where we can be safe to be ourselves, safe to be vulnerable, safe to admit we need to change, and trust someone to walk with us through change.

Just as an example, look at the success of Alcoholics Anonymous. What are the strengths of that program? Well, first of all there is the accountability and support of the other members, people who have been through the process themselves and are there to help and support a new member.

There’s also the ‘steps’ to change. It starts with the awareness that change is necessary, and the ability of the person to admit to themselves that they need to change something in their lives that is not working. And then to seek support from someone they can trust.

Understanding change is so important to your success with any process of change you undertake. By understanding how change happens, we are in a better position to do what we need to do. The funny thing is though, no matter how much we want things to be different, we don’t really want to change anything. Like I said in the previous lesson, we become comfortable where we are.

Dissatisfaction with the status quo of your life starts with you, and perhaps even the vision for what you want your life to be, however even vision can be hard to see without someone else helping us see what we cannot see.

Christopher Pinckly says that the very act of hiring a life coach is the beginning of change.

“Much in the same way when you hire a life coach you will begin to take yourself and your life more seriously and most likely start making positive changes right away… It is kind of like saying, “I am worth it!” In other words, you will automatically, subconsciously begin to make and create changes in your life from the simple act of hiring a life coach.”

Resisting Change

At a deep level we want nothing more than for things to be different, but when push comes to shove, we resist the very change we long for.

In his classic book “As a Man Thinketh” first published in 1902, James Allen (1864-1912), said, “Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.” Don’t be one of them!

The Stages of Change Model developed by James Prochaska and Carol DiClemente gives several stages of change. They are :

  • Pre Contemplation where the individual is not thinking about change
  • Contemplation where they are thinking about change and preparing for it, but feeling ambivalent about it or not seriously considering changing
  • Preparation/Determination where they start taking change seriously
  • Action where the decision has been made to act
  • Maintenance where change is maintained, and
  • Relapse where an individual slips back to old behaviours.

Resistance is likely in the Contemplation stage, where the reason for and against change are not that far apart, so the individual could be ambivalent or even resistant.

The reason I am stating this here is BECAUSE IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU! And we must be ready for it, guard against it, and push through it if any resistance does come.

There could be any number of reasons or excuses that you could come up with to resist change, but when you step through any one of these limitations and make a profound or even simple change, life will open up to you instantly!

Self-Sabotage

Let’s look at something else that can hinder your chances at change.

Have you made new years resolutions? Have you made promises to yourself that you would do something, and then not do it? That, my friend, is a broken promise! Did you know we can break a promise even to ourselves? And what does that do? Broken promises erodes trust, even in ourselves! Yes, even trust in ourselves. If we make promises to another person and break that promise that person will not trust us to keep our word next time. It’s the same with ourselves. If we break a promise to ourselves, we do not trust ourselves with the next promise we make… so if we do make a promise to ourselves again, we are doomed to fail before we even begin!

If that is you, you must be honest with yourself, apologise to yourself, and learn to trust yourself again. Right now, before we go any further. And this is your assignment for this week!

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