As we think about our lives there are a lot of changes we would like to make. We know that through discipline and perseverance we can see the changes we want. Yet, we fall short—we do great 3 or 4 days out of the week and then the change effort falls out of focus and we return to life as usual.
We all have deep pathways in our brains that have supported us in arriving at where we are today, with tiny changes made along the way—but often not enough to place us exactly where we want to be. When we decide we are ready to take action toward change, the most important element to consider is whether or not you are ready to be open to learning and activating.
Any change will require you to open your mind to new perspectives and ways of seeing the world. As you open to these new elements, the deeply embedded brain pathways will make it difficult for new information to flow into your brain in a way that makes it inspired to take action. It will think “that doesn’t feel totally right; maybe it worked for them, but not me; wow—that sounds really hard.”
Your task will be to recognize these thoughts as totally NORMAL and understand that despite this new idea not feeling completely on target for you—it may just may hold the key to seeing the world in a new way to create different circumstances. This requires MINDFULNESS, the ability to recognize that you are more than your brain swirl—you are the WATCHER inside who can make the best decisions possible with new information.
As the watcher you can take an opportunity to act on this new information without immediately judging it as a good or bad action. You can choose the perspective that this is all very interesting and that you are curious to see if it can work for you. For example, if you are trying to lose weight and your friend tells you about the juices she has recently made to supplement her vegetable intake, ask questions out of curiosity and in an effort to learn.
Now, this isn’t to say that you need to try every new idea that comes your way. Instead—once your curiosity is spiked, check-in with your intuition or center and ask, would I have fun trying this? If I approached it as a trial and error experiment, with the end goal being potential integration into my weekly routine—does it feel fun?
If it does, add it to your weekly routine, incorporating it into at least 3 days and see how it works for you. Each day that you do it—check in on a note pad or on your phone’s note pad and reflect on why you liked it or didn’t like it. Is there anything you would tweak? Can you commit to another week of this new task or would you rather this drop it and try something different?
The fundamental process to change is: to learn, engage, check-in with your intuition and then challenge yourself to take action. From the action stage, you go into reflection and determine how integration into your life will work for sustainable results. If you honestly believe that you cannot integrate a new action step into your routine toward sustainable change, you are either not ready for change or have not found the right methodology to see it through.
If you are not ready for change that is perfectly acceptable. You may actually have different priorities that you didn’t become aware of until you started experiments with change efforts. Moreover, you may actually still be in a period of contemplation about change, where all you truly want to do is read books about change and learn—but not activate the changes. This is also ok, if you are honest with yourself, acknowledging that as your current state and understanding that activation is not right at this time.
There is a time for every stage within the change cycle. Being honest with yourself about where you are and whether or not the change effort is right for you now—is the best thing you can do for yourself. When you are ready for change, the next best thing is trial and error and finally full integration into your life’s routine for sustainable success.