How to make a change and mean it

butterfly

Change is a comin’….How to get ready and mean it

“When you are trying to motivate yourself, first, appreciate the fact that you are even thinking about making a change and then as you move forward, allow yourself to be good enough.” Alice Domar

Is there something happening right now, in this moment that is making you aware that a change needs to happen sooner rather than later? Get out a piece of paper and a pen and let’s get to work on that change.

1)      Select a behavior or situation you genuinely want to change. This needs to be about you alone. It should not involve anyone else. Start to write about the change you want to make. Include every thought you have. No judgments.

2)      You should be able to track your progress. This can be done with a daily journal or on a calendar designated specifically for tracking this change or with the guidance of a helping professional.

3)      Your goal toward this change has to be real. Losing 30lbs. in 90 days is more of a fantasy than a resolute goal.

4)       Make friends with time. Create a vision board that outlines a 3 month plan, a 6 month plan and a one year plan. What would you like to have accomplished by each marker?

5)      The change has to be within your control as do the steps you take toward that change. If your desired change involves other people helping you then you lose a good portion of the control you need. Emotional support is all you will need from anyone. The rest is up to you.

6)      State your desired goal using positive language. Instead of saying what you want to change state how you will go about making your change; small steps you can do every day toward your desired outcome.*

“You have to speak your dream out loud.”– Kelly Corrigan

One year ago I was beyond fed up with the job I was in and wanted to make a career change. I was nervous because change in itself is not something I have ever been friends with but my need to get out of what I was doing was stronger than my fear of change. I quietly began to research where I might belong based on my likes and dislikes. I was still nervous at this point to tell anyone what I was thinking or feeling.

Once I saw myself in a career fit I went about writing down all the steps I would need to take to get me to where I wanted to be. I’ll admit that there were some steps I was against doing and afraid to do but I kept telling myself that anything worth having is worth working hard for. I didn’t put the pressure of a time frame on myself only in so far as I knew I didn’t want to wait to start. My emotional level toward making this change was very strong and very passionate.

I kept my passion level high and my determination level higher. The very first thing I needed to do was address the fear I was feeling around making this big change so I began by writing about why I wanted to make this career change. My “why” became my motto. The next thing I needed to do was to get important people in my life on board with my career change so that I had the emotional support I needed. I talked to my family about why I wanted to make this change. Hearing myself talk out loud was very important because it made the dream real and it got me the input and support I ultimately needed. I then had to deal with my inner critic who is a genius at always telling me that I was not good at making changes and that I was going to fail miserably. I kept asking myself, “so what?” until the fear became manageable and my inner critic had nothing left to throw at me. Once I started to feel strength toward my fear and my inner critic I knew I was ready to get started on my to-do list of steps toward my goal.

I worked those steps diligently and got a little thrill each time I got to check off an action step that I completed. Before I knew what was happening I had accomplished a lot more than I originally set out to do.

It is one year later and it has been quite an adventure. I had lots of encouragement along the way and lots of moments that could have brought me to my knees in defeat but I kept saying those two words, “so what” and in the end all the hard work was done by only me and I used my “disasters” as learning opportunities.

I can happily, powerfully and encouragingly say that I have accomplished most of the steps on my original to-do list and am working on a new list right now. I will never let my to-do list be empty. There are lingering steps I still need to take toward my original goal but I know without a doubt that I will get there and go beyond. As each to-do step was taken I could feel my confidence building and could feel how empowering those accomplishments made me feel. There are times even now when I feel impatient but I find that I am thoroughly enjoying the learning process and even more so enjoying all the new people in my life.

Recently I read an article written by a man who had gotten into a very bad car accident and died. He wrote the article from what he remembered of his death, what he thought about most of all at the moment he knew he died and of being brought back to life. It was a fascinating and surreal story; it gave me goose bumps. He left his reading audience with three questions that honestly, deeply resonated with me for which I now have made a permanent part of my wallpaper.  Whenever you are thinking about making a change, whether by choice or out of necessity keep these ideas with you as a guide post:

1)      Am I passionate? This speaks to all the reasons you do anything in your life. Are the things you do driven by passion toward your actions and goals?

2)      Am I productive? This speaks to how you get your passionate actions done. Are the steps you are taking toward your goal, toward what holds your interests, productive steps or wasting time kind of steps? Is there true purpose for your actions?

3)      Am I making a difference? This speaks to how what you do, what you want to do will impact others. We are all here to serve each other in some way. Even if your goal is to lose weight, how do you think your story will impact someone else? What difference will your weight loss make beyond your own health and well-being?  In most cases you will see that you are not alone in what you are going through. The difference is in the fact that it is you who is going through it and therefore your story should be shared.

“The defining characteristic of every successful person I have met? They have passion.” –Dr. Phil

*From the book, “Changeology” by Dr. John C. Norcross, PhD.

Lisa is a career and life coach. She has been featured in Parent Magazine and in the book, A Stay-At-Home Mom’s Guide to Making Money by Liz Folger. If you would like to explore how coaching can help you please write to lisa@journeyoncoaching.com to set up a free 30 minute coaching consultation.

Inner Critic

 Whispers from my Wallpaper

 

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t you are right.” – Henry Ford

This is a very powerful statement. If you take a moment to think these words through and let them sink into your mind you will notice that you have lived these words over and over again. You are what you believe, what you think.

I must have been maybe 4 or 5 years old when I can first remember feeling critical about myself. I didn’t think I was good enough in art or I didn’t think I could learn to ride a 2 wheel bike or I didn’t think I would ever be able to wear grown up shoes. When we are little life is what we see right in front of us. It has no beginning, no end; it is not attached to a greater purpose or grand plan. Just like our bodies change as we age so does our brain. Our brain evolves and grows. The more we learn the more pathways are created to greater understanding. But, just like every up has a down, every front has a back we quickly learn that every yes has a no, or does it?

inner critic 001

 “We are the creators of our own experience—remembering this, and living our lives from this perspective, empowers us.” –Mike Robbins

What if what we think we can’t do actually has the ability to become something we can do?

Like everyone, I have carried self- doubt with me most of my life. Self-doubt shows up for a lot of as a voice inside that endlessly says we are no good, we can’t do things we really want to try or do. It says things like, “who are you kidding?”, “You are not smart enough”, “You are not wealthy enough”, “You don’t do well in social situations”, etc. A litany of judgments and limiting beliefs that holds us back.

Don’t be stubborn or shy, admit it. You can relate to these thoughts. Whether you remember when it started or not does not matter. Your own negative thinking about yourself shows up almost on a daily basis. It’s the voice inside your head that seems to always be there ready and waiting to put you down, to stop you from doing something it knows you are feeling hesitant about already. This is our inner critic. The bad news is that your inner critic will never go away. The good news is there are a myriad of ways to turn the negative voice around to become your comrade, your support system.

In my profession, life coaching, I have had clients who refer to their inner critic as a gremlin, a dragon, a saboteur. Some clients give their inner critic names, some clients can imagine what their inner critic looks like.  We all go through self- doubt, whether big or small, daily or randomly. Our inner critic gets its strength from the moments we are feeling weak, small, fearful, unsure, and angry. It shows up through feelings of lack of self-esteem, lack of self-respect, lack of a good self-image, lack of courage. Its job is to stand in your way and put you down. Have you ever felt like Hercules one day and then the next day felt like a mouse? We are fragile beings and within ourselves we rise and set with the sun figuratively and literally.

Recently I took a leap of faith. I got so very tired of hearing my inner critic say no, say “I can’t”, that I left my very negative, hostile, life sucking job to embark on a new career. Don’t misunderstand, this was not and is not still an easy decision but I needed to turn a self-imposed “can’t” into a self-imposed “can.”  The worst that could happen is that I would fail and have to look for another job (and deal with the fallout of the failure which is almost as bad as staying in the job that was killing me). Since I felt like I had hit bottom, the only way out for me was up and I realized that is where the sun shines.

Recognizing my own inner critic, getting to know its voice and its negative patterns was the first step to beating it at its own game. Every time I started feeling angry, defensive, shy, lonely, depressed, hurt, I stopped what I was doing and noticed what might have caused me to feel that way. I took a deep breath, stood still, and got set to fight my way through that negative moment. I imagined it much like a football player putting on his uniform ready to fight to win the game or the Knights of the Round Table putting on their armor and fighting their enemies.

Here are a few steps I took to practice keeping my inner critic at bay:

1)      Spot clean: Organize, clean; straighten a messy area in your home, office, car, and garage. Doing a physical positive like cleaning will bring instant happiness to any negative situation. “Drop and give me 20” is also a great way to combat the negative thoughts. You not only keep your body in shape and in motion but you are exerting unwanted negative energy and can then stand tall and move through what needs to get done.

2)      Quickly think of something funny or happy or positive that would annoy your inner critic. A negative thought can’t get stronger if laughter or happiness is at the ready to chase it away.

3)      Draw a picture of what you think your inner critic looks like. Use colors, words, facial expressions to make the inner critic as real as possible. When you have finished your drawing drop the drawing on the floor. Take your dirtiest shoe and stomp on the drawing. While you are stomping on the inner critic shout at it with phrases and words like: STOP!, You are poison!, You cannot control me!, I don’t like you!, etc. Getting out the negative thoughts toward your inner critic will help you develop positive power over it.

Call to Action

I started this article quoting Henry Ford, that whether you think you can or you think you can’t you are right. Every time you think you can’t, think of at least 3 reasons how you can. Practice positive, productive, purposeful thinking and behaving. Create a habit of happy, uplifting, energetic thoughts to combat your inner critic as soon as it shows up. Practice makes practically perfect. It will be a life- long battle but the more you practice using your “can do” muscle the weaker your inner critic will become. Journey On……