We usually know what we want to do to create improvement in our lives. We often have great notions or grand ideas. However, we usually have difficulty in translating those ideas into actions. I have chosen this year as a time to dedicate to creating change in my life because for years I have been one of those people; great plans and ideas but not enough action. A few years ago, I realized that my challenge is not always that I am not aware of what I need to do but it is often an unwillingness to get moving.
I find that making changes can be a very difficult process. Not that it helps to know this, but it is a little comforting to recognize that I am not the only one. There has been research done to show that many survivors of heart attacks, when given the regimens for recovery by their doctors, choose not to take the actions and the medications that they are prescribed. I find that statistic disturbing. Even with the threat of death on their doorstep, there are some of us who still do not do what it needed. Refuse to change. I would hate to be that static. Therefore I have determined that I am going to make the changes that I need to, no matter how small I have to start and no matter how much it seems like there is little or no progress.
The other hard part of change is our unwillingness to embrace our flaws. We often feel that it has to be all or nothing. We are either doing it 100% right all the time or we are failing. However, we always hear from those who succeed, that for them the failure happened but they did not let it derail them. They may have fallen off of their habits or disciplines, but they did not stay there. They got back up and kept going forward. That has been my approach thus far and it has allowed me to stay the course so far, with my eyes on the prize.
Change is hard for everyone. Even those people who make it look easy. The highly successful actor who is famous for working out, but only finds the time for it late at night after a long day of filming and interviews and other commitments. So it might seem easy because we don’t hear the complaints but that does not mean that it is. The mother of four who has been able to earn multiple degrees, while raising her kids, staying married and running multiple businesses with her husband, is working long hard hours and getting it done. It takes effort and those of us who may have the tendency to want to give up have to keep reminding ourselves of that.
Change is hard because it requires us to consistently reach beyond what we know and what is comfortable to us. It is hard because we cannot do it on autopilot but instead must give it focused effort and attention until we grow to the point where we cannot imagine not doing it. Our natural instinct as human beings is to resist anything that seems like it might be dangerous or deadly. Eating strange food, pushing our bodies and our minds beyond their limits or going up to strangers to expose vulnerabilities, all feel like life threatening activities. At first. Only persistence can change that. Surviving the first foray and learning from the journey help us to grow and to cope.
Change doesn’t get easier. We have to get better.
Marjorie Wharton is a trainer, facilitator and coach who works with individuals and organizations to help them improve their performance. She is based at the Sagicor Cave Hill School of Business in Barbados. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. For more of her writing visit https://marjoriewharton.live