Whew! Look at us!! We made it!!! We are at the last step in our change ethic. This final step is what Drs. Prochaska, Norcross and DiClemente call the termination step from their book, Changing For Good.
In most cases, like this mini-series, it has been at least 2 months that you have been working hard at making whatever changes you chose and you have been working hard. I hope you were keeping a journal and tracking your progress. You deserve a moment to look back and really take in just how much effort you have devoted to this process and to feel proud of all that you have accomplished.
“Life is a race, and what matters most isn’t when a person crosses the finish line, but how strong they have grown along the way.” –Jen Stephens, The Heart’s Journey Home
In their book (Pg. 274 CFG) , the doctors say that the termination step is defined as” Exiting the Cycle of Change”. The doctors contend that “the problem or behavior has been resolved with no further threat or temptation or the new behavior is integrated into the person’s life in a way that takes no effort or struggle to maintain. Behavior is now automatic and fully a part of the person’s everyday existence.”
I’m sure you have noticed some changes in the way you are thinking about yourself and your life as a whole and not just about the particular change you are engaged in creating or bringing about. Once you started feeling a bit of success toward the changes you were making I can’t help but wonder what else popped up that led you to feel that another change might be necessary or dare I say really wanted.
For me, although the surgery itself was a change and had an ending of completion after recovery, I knew that I didn’t want that one change to be the end of any changes I might go through. Instead I used the surgery as a springboard toward other changes. I capitalized on how proud of myself I was for having the courage to go through with the surgery; I capitalized on how much better I felt about myself and what I was seeing in the mirror. I became more determined to continue to take care of my body inside and out and I built upon each little bit of self-confidence by taking steps toward a new career, among other things. The good feelings I was experiencing because of how good I was starting to feel overall left me behaving more open and less reserved as a person and people started noticing me more. One good thing leads to another.
“A story has no beginning or end; one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.” – Graham Greene, The End of the Affair
“Life changes are essential for maintenance; a new lifestyle is essential for termination. The difference is in the permanence of the change. In maintenance, you modify parts of your life such as social contacts, daily schedules, behavior patterns in order to overcome your problem. In termination, you institute a healthier lifestyle as a means of preserving your gains and promoting new growth.” (Pg. 278 CFG)
In his book, Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions, Dr. John Norcross poses the question as to whether termination is ever really achieved. Although there has been heated debate on this issue, Dr. Norcross points out 3 conditions that are met in order to classify termination as a real step toward lasting change.
*You have reached termination if your temptation to regress or relapse across triggers is low
*You have reached termination if your self-efficacy to maintain is high across situations
*You have reached termination if you have established a healthy lifestyle that precludes the old problem behavior. Zero temptation = 100% confidence. (Pg. 198 CO)
Don’t panic if you don’t quite meet these 3 conditions. That just means that maintenance is where you are at and that is a great place to be because your awareness is very high and failure or relapse is not an option if you can help it however, you recognize that it might happen and you are choosing to always be aware of that fact. Good for you for recognizing a weak spot and sticking with your processes.
Your changes and how you chose to use the tools at hand to succeed in changing a problem or behavior or thought pattern is your personal stamp on the process. “Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature.” Thich Nhat Hanh
Produce your thoughts with care and personalization, act as if you have already won, and wear proudly the signature of your success because no one could have done it the way you did it. Take time to really acknowledge and thank those allies of yours. These are the same helpers that will stick with you now that your change process is at an end. Most of all celebrate yourself for your success and perseverance.
“That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do it has increased.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Remember the steps it took to get you here:
*Make a pro/con list about the change you want to make. There should be at least a 3:1 ratio of 3 pros to every one con
* Clarify your WHY in terms of making a change.
* Visualize what life will be like if and when you make that change.
* Create a support group.
* Research and gather information to support your efforts.
* Develop a “worst case” scenario.
* Set clear and specific goals toward the change you want to make and how to deal with stress and anxiety within the action of changing.
* Monitor your progress while in the throes of your actions steps.
* Monitor any inner critic that pops up to sabotage your efforts.
* Use your allies as often as possible.
* Renew your commitment as often as necessary. Never lose your WHY.
* Always celebrate along the way each and every little success. Keep your motivation high.
* Forgive yourself through a relapse or slip up. Get back on track right away.
* Only you will know deep inside if you are ready for termination of your action steps or if you are going to hold the line and maintain your efforts for a while longer.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
There is no end here. I am not in termination regarding the personal changes I want to make. The “changes” have now become a part of me and it is “me” that I am working on, probably for the rest of my life. There is a person that must be developed, released and set free because of all the changes I have made so far and I am in exploration of just who that person must be in order to reach fulfillment and authenticity. I will hold the line on the changes I have made so far. I will not allow any slip ups from here on out. I like who and what I have become so far. I am very much okay with never reaching termination because that only means I am alive and learning and sharing and creating. Please consider joining me in my quest. This is the greatest adventure yet.
Call to Action
Now that you have a taste of your own inner strength and power perhaps you will take on this challenge and dare to be……
Dare To Be
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
“When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.
When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.
When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.
When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.
When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.
When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.
When you are feeling tired, dare to keep going.
When times are tough, dare to be tougher.
When love hurts you, dare to love again.
When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.
When another is lost, dare to help them find their way.
When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.
When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.
When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.
When the day has ended, dare to feel that you have done your best.
Dare to be the best you can/At all times/ Dare to be…….”
Thank you for joining me in this mini-series. It has been a great pleasure to share these insights and strategies with you.
For information about coaching, creating lasting change in your life, help with figuring out who you want to be when you grow up or just an ally in the struggle to move up the ladder of life please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-560-3061.
For more wisdom wizards please visit Lisa’s website at www.journeyoncoaching.com or visit Lisa’s Pinterest Board at http://www.pinterest.com/lisazaccagnini/wisdom-wizards/.
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